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Marijuana is only drug found in Miami 'zombie's' system

Rudy Eugene, the man who chewed off a homeless man's face on the MacArthur Causeway and was shot to death by Miami police, had no drugs in his system other than marijuana, the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner's office said Wednesday.

On May 26, Eugene stripped off his clothes along the causeway from Miami Beach before attacking 65-year-old Ronald Poppo in a ghoulish, drawn-out assault in plain view on a city sidewalk captured by a Miami Herald security camera. Eugene was shot by a police officer, who found him chewing chunks off Poppo's face.

The bizarre details of the attack prompted speculation that the 31-year-old attacker was under the influence of harder drugs. Soon after the incident, for example, the head of the Miami police union publicly speculated that Eugene was on "bath salts," synthetic stimulants that have been blamed for seemingly psychotic episodes in other cases around the country.

But the medical examiner — after seeking help from an outside forensic toxicology lab — could find no evidence of the common components of "bath salts" in Eugene's system. Nor did the lab find evidence of synthetic marijuana or LSD.

The medical examiner also found that Eugene had not ingested cocaine, heroin, PCP, oxycodone, amphetamines or any other known street drug other than marijuana — a drug not known for sparking violence.

"Within the limits of current technology by both laboratories, marijuana is the only drug identified in the body of Mr. Rudy Eugene," the medical examiner's office said in a news release.

The toxicology findings lend further mystery to Eugene's unprompted attack on Poppo, the homeless man Eugene found dozing in the shade of the Metromover train tracks before attacking him.

Rikkia Cross, Eugene's on-again off-again girlfriend, is now convinced that Eugene's actions are the result of something "supernatural" that afflicted him.

"Somebody did something to him, somebody put something on him. I know for sure that wasn't Rudy," Cross said Wednesday.

Cross last saw Eugene in the early morning of May 26, more than eight hours before the attack on the causeway. About 5:30 a.m., Eugene woke Cross and told her that he was meeting a friend.

Eugene ended up on Miami Beach, where his car apparently broke down. But it's still unclear what Eugene did on the beach in the hours before the attack.

Shortly before 2 p.m. May 26, motorists began calling police reporting a naked man walking down the road and hanging off light posts.

Eugene pummeled Poppo and removed his pants before gnawing on his face in an about 18-minute attack, security footage shows. Poppo is recovering at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Marijuana is only drug found in Miami 'zombie's' system 06/27/12 [Last modified: Thursday, June 28, 2012 8:21am]
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