May 31 2012 at 12:50pm
Rudy Eugene, 31, is seen in this undated handout photo released by the Miami-Dade Police Department.
The girlfriend of the man who chewed off most of another man’s face believes her boyfriend was either drugged or a voodoo curse was put on him, according to a report.
The bloody spectacle unfolded mid-afternoon on Saturday, when police were alerted by the public as the attack was being carried out near Miami’s MacArthur Causeway.
Police ordered a naked Rudy Eugene, 31, to stop the assault, then fatally shot him when he continued to gnaw at the face of his victim, who was also naked.
Television footage and news photos have shown the two men sprawled on the sidewalk side by side, with the victim barely conscious and covered in blood with up to 75 percent of his face ripped off.
The victim, identified as 65-year-old homeless man Ronald Poppo, is fighting for his life in hospital.
Eugene’s on-off girlfriend of five years, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the Miami Herald that either Eugene had either been drugged unknowingly or it was something supernatural – that someone put a voodoo curse on him.
Eugene was originally from Haiti, where voodoo is chiefly practised. His girlfriend, who is not Haitian, said she believed someone put a curse on him.
“I don’t know how else to explain this,” she said.
According to the report, she said the depictions of Eugene as a face-chewing monster do not make sense to her.
“Something happened out of the ordinary that day. I don’t want him to be labelled the Miami Zombie,” she told the Miami Herald.
She remembered Eugene as a man of faith who had recently been trying to stop smoking marijuana.
She insisted that he had never used any recreational drugs besides marijuana and was even trying to quit. Eugene would refuse to take over-the-counter medication for headaches and was sweet and well-mannered, she told the Miami Herald.
Eugene’s mother, Ruth Charles, also talked to the media to defend her son.
“Everybody says that he was a zombie, but I know he’s not a zombie; he’s my son,” she told CBS.
She also suspected he had been drugged.
“I don’t know what they injected in him to turn him into the person who did what he did,” she told CBS.
Eugene’s girlfriend said when she first saw TV reports of the attack, she had no idea Eugene was behind it.
“I thought to myself, ‘Oh my God, that’s crazy’,” she told the Miami Herald.
But she said she had been trying to call Eugene, who had left her house on the morning of the attack, but could not get in contact with him.
She told the paper that Eugene had called her earlier on Saturday to say his car had broken down, and when she had not heard back from him later in the day, she started feeling uneasy.
But it was not until Monday, when she was contacted by a member of Eugene’s family, that she found out that he was behind the grisly attack.
“I’ll never be the same,” she told the paper.
Police initially said the attack could have been provoked by an overdose of a powerful new form of LSD mixed along with “cocaine psychosis.”
Reports however on Tuesday suggested Eugene was likely under the influence of the synthetic stimulant “bath salts” made with the active agent mephedrone, which produces an often aggressive, chaotic experience for users, coupled with intense hallucinations. IOL, Sapa-AP, AFP