Police have reportedly identified the victim of the “Miami Causeway Cannibal.”
Police said “zombie” Rudy Eugene attacked Ronald Poppo, a 65-year-old homeless man, Sun Sentinel reported.
Eugene has been referred to as a zombie for allegedly eating 80 percent of Poppo’s face off. Authorities believe Eugene may have overdosed on bath salts that contain synthetic stimulants and can cause paranoia and hallucinations when abused.
The story has made national news due to the graphic photographs of Eugene dead next to his victim — both nude — and the horrifying nature of the story.
Jim Hall, director of Nova Southeastern University’s Center for the Study and Prevention of Substance Abuse, believes bath salts can sometimes produce violent behavior, although nothing as gruesome as cannibalism has ever been reported.
Bath salts are mainly made up of chemicals called mephedrone and MDPV, which are typically swallowed or snorted.
“A key issue is that nobody ever knows what’s in them. They can be something mild one week, something very strong the next week,” Hall told the Sun Sentinel.
Plastic surgeons are going to attempt to reconstruct Poppo’s face. But Michael Salzhauer, a Miami plastic surgeon who is the chief surgeon at Bal Harbour Plastic Surgery Associates, said the effectiveness of the surgery depends on how much skin remains.
“The real question is how much skin is left,” Salzhauer told the newspaper.”Once you clean out the blood and see how much skin is left, we may have a candidate for a face transplant.”
Salzhauer said that full face transplant surgeries are rare. But that even if Poppo did not get a face transplant, doctors would be able to work on his face using skin tissue from other body parts like his buttocks and forearms.