WESLEY CHAPEL (FOX 13) - A young father was set-up, ambushed, and nearly stabbed to death in a Pasco County neighborhood, according to sheriff's office investigators.
Sitting in a hospital bed in the ICU, Cody Reilly has a long fight ahead of him.
"I just want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers through this tough time," Reilly said.
The 22-year-old has a total of 18-stab wounds all over his neck, back, and chest. Thankfully, none of those stabs hit any major organs and Reilly should make a full recovery.
“He’s having trouble talking right now, his voice is very raspy because one of his vocal chords is paralyzed,” Reilly’s girlfriend, Maya Kane said. “But other than that, he’s still making jokes, he’s still our Cody.”
She says thinking about their 8-month-old son, Xander helped Reilly push through the brutal ambush Monday night.
Kane got worried when Reilly didn’t come home after work, then got the news that he had been stabbed.
"I’m still in complete shock that I almost lost the love of my life, the father of my son," said Kane.
The Pasco County Sheriff's Office says Reilly drove to the Chapel Pines subdivision in Wesley Chapel to help a woman he was communicating with over Facebook.
Investigators would not go into many details, but Reilly's father says his son was lured to Buckhead Court after an elaborate catfish-like scheme.
"We're not talking that this was something that was done over a short period of time, there was several months that this was taking place," Mike Reilly said.
According to deputies, after Reilly parked, he was violently attacked from behind. The Lutz man was flown to a Tampa hospital in critical condition.
"I just wouldn't wish this on anybody, you know, as a parent, walking into the scene that we walked into, it's gut-wrenching,” said Mike. “You know, you feel helpless, you feel hopeless; you feel there's nothing you can do."
Investigators say they are now searching for Blake Butler for attempted homicide. The 26-year-old lives just a few doors down from where the stabbing happened.
Deputies say it appears Butler created a fake Facebook account and was posing as the woman chatting with Reilly. However, authorities do not believe the two know each other.
Loved ones tell us they want to see Butler behind bars.
"I just really hope we can find the guy that did this," Reilly said.
Investigators said Butler has violent tendencies and may have shaved the hair off his head and face. Online court records show past arrests for drugs, burglary, grand theft and arson, among others.
If you know where Butler is, call 911 immediately.
Reilly's father set up an online fundraiser to help with his medical bills.