Ronald Poppo (pictured left in his high school yearbook), the homeless man whose face was devoured by a crazed Rudy Eugene (pictured below left) for no apparent reason on May 26 near a heavily traveled Miami highway ramp, will be permanently disfigured and will also require months of facial reconstruction, reports CBS News.
Facial reconstruction experts state that facial injuries in general are not life-threatening. The greatest risk resulting from Eugene’s gnawing of Poppo’s face, though, comes from the actual bites that Eugene took: One of Poppo’s eyes were gouged out, and a great amount of saliva may have been introduced to the area.
According to the National Institutes of Health, human bites may be more dangerous than most animal bites. There are germs in some human mouths that can cause infections that are very difficult to treat.
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As to why Eugene attacked a sleeping and harmless Poppo, the motive is still under police investigation. Investigators are analyzing the one piece of evidence that has surfaced from the case, an 18-minute surveillance video of the entire gory attack.
Watch the surveillance video here:
In the video, Eugene is seen approaching Poppo, yanking him from a shady area, then ripping off his clothes and repeatedly striking him. The apparently seething Eugene is then seen straddling Poppo and ripping away parts of his face. When police are called on to the scene and order Eugene to step away from Poppo, he is seen growling at them. After police warn Eugene a few times to get off the homeless man again and he continuously refuses, they fire a fatal hail of bullets at him.
Detectives suspect that Eugene was under the influence of a hallucinogenic type drug referred to as “bath salts.” The highly addictive stimulant, which has become popular among teens and young adults, can cause extreme hallucinations, paranoia, rapid heart rates, suicidal thoughts and dangerously high body temperatures.
Poppo was an overachiever who attended one of the country’s top high schools, Stuyvesant, in New York City and graduated in 1964 with an IQ of 129. The man had a bright future and was attractive with thick dark hair, dark eyes, and a strong chin.
Now Poppo’s features are barely present on his face as Eugene ate most of them leaving only his chin and goatee.
After graduating from high school, Poppo attended the City College of New York. He even had aspirations at the time of being the “First Italian in the White House.” Classmates describe Poppo as being an all-around nice guy. When graduating classmates were looking for each other and tried to find Poppo in 2003, they came up empty.
Poppo’s potential had taken a sad turn, and drinking, more than a dozen arrests for petty crimes, and a gunshot injury in 1976 caused him to become a victim of the streets.
Poppo’s family members even thought he was dead.
Sister Antoinette Poppo told the Miami Herald that she had not seen her brother in decades. “We thought he was no longer of this Earth…. I’m just glad my mother is not here to see this.”
Now Poppo is lying in a hospital bed in critical condition at Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital with a future that seems bleak.
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