TAMPA — Eleven days after his 21-foot fishing boat capsized in the gulf, NFL player Marquis Cooper's wife filed a petition in civil court to get a presumptive death certificate, court records show.
Rebekah Cooper, who lives in Odessa with Cooper's 3-year-old daughter, Delaney, is petitioning Hillsborough County for the documents because her husband has been a resident since 2004.
The certificate is used to claim life insurance and other benefits.
Cooper set out on a fishing expedition early March 1 from the Seminole Boat Ramp in Clearwater with three friends — former Buccaneer Corey Smith and two former University of South Florida players, Will Bleakley and Nick Schuyler.
When the four men did not return, authorities were called in.
The U.S. Coast Guard began a search for the men at 1:30 a.m. on March 2 but the night before "the weather conditions had deteriorated, the seas became choppy and the heavy wind caused the boat to capsize," the petition stated.
Only Schuyler was found. He told the Times the three other men floated away from the overturned boat.
The Coast Guard has since concluded that Cooper is dead, based upon the water temperatures, conditions and the length of time he has been missing.
Now his wife would like the county to follow suit.