Ronald Poppo , the Miami 'zombie' face-chewing attack victim, is speaking about the Rudy Eugene face-chewing attack that captured the world's attention months ago.
Photographer: Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital
MIAMI, Fla. — Rudy Eugene, the so-called Causeway Cannibal, was not on "bath salts" or any other exotic drug when he chewed off the face of a homeless man last month, according to toxicology results released last week.
Tests on the 31-year-old's body show only marijuana in his system at the time of the May 26 attack, according to the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner.
Ruled out were synthetic marijuana, LSD, amphetamines, PCP, heroin, oxycodone, several other street drugs and alcohol, the ME reported in a news release.
To complete its examination, the ME's office said it sought help from an outside forensic toxicology lab. "Within the limits of current technology by both laboratories, marijuana is the only drug identified in the body of Mr. Rudy Eugene," the ME's office said.
Eugene, who was naked, attacked Ronald Poppo as the 65-year-old vagrant dozed under the MacArthur Causeway. He was stopped only when a Miami police officer shot him to death. More than half of Poppo's face, from his forehead to his upper lip, was chewed off.
Poppo remains at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where doctors are working to rebuild his face.
The gruesome attack became a worldwide sensation, and sparked widespread speculation that Eugene must have been under the influence of an unknown drug.
One of the first mentions of bath salts came within hours of the incident, and may have been sparked by a comment from Armando Aguilar, the president of Miami's Fraternal Order of Police. In talking about new drugs that police were seeing on the street, Aguilar said that Eugene's bizarre and violent behavior could have been caused by something like bath salts.
"There is no doubt in anybody's mind the guy was on something or he was totally insane," Aguilar said Wednesday.
Although toxicology tests searched for many known drugs and compounds, Aguilar said further investigation may be warranted. "My guess is that this is a drug they don't know the compounds of yet," he said.
In trying to explain Eugene's horrific behavior, even his family and loved ones theorized that he must have been on some drug, perhaps slipped to him without his knowledge.
Yovonka Bryant, who said she was Eugene's girlfriend the last four months of his life, said earlier this month that she never knew Eugene to be violent. She said that if Eugene had been on anything other than marijuana, he would not have taken it willingly.
"It is not a shock to me that they would only find marijuana," Bryant, 27, of Miramar said Wednesday. "So I'm glad it was cleared up that he was not using drugs, but it just leaves more questions.
"It's a puzzle. The hard part is not knowing why. Obviously something went wrong in his mind."
Maj. Delrish Moss, a spokesman for the Miami Police, said he hoped the medical examiner's report would end speculation that bath salts, a mind-altering hallucinogen, had possessed Eugene to attack Poppo.
Moss said he also hoped the ME's report would correct reports that official police department spokesmen — and not union officials — were the source of the bath salts rumors.
"The Miami police have never said bath salts," said Moss. "Al-Jazeeraeven called us on this. But we did not notice an uptick in the use of bath salts before this, and in fact I never heard the term before this."
Since Eugene's attack, several other incidents in which people have taken off their clothes and become violent have been reported in various parts of the U.S. In the some of those cases, drugs were known to be a factor.
Although many South Florida cities have been crafting laws aimed at curbing the use of sythetic drugs, publicity generated by Eugene's attack on Poppo has added urgency to those efforts.
Earlier this week, Lauderhill became the first city in Broward to ban bath salts. Commissioners approved a ban on synthetic marijuana the same night.
Broward County, Miami-Dade County, Hollywood, Margate and North Lauderdale are considering bans on both bath salts and synthetic marijuana.
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