The girlfriend of Rudy Eugene, the "Miami zombie," who allegedly chewed off the face of a homeless man, has spoken to the media. She says that the attacker was not the man she knew and that he was either drugged or was the victim of a voodoo curse.
According to Miami Herald, the woman, who has not been named, said she believes her boyfriend was the victim of a voodoo curse. She told the Miami Herald, “I don’t know how else to explain this."
According to CBS Miami, she said she had been in an on-off relationship with Eugene for five years. She seemed unable to connect her Bible-carrying Haitian boyfriend with the persona of the "Miami Zombie," and she needs a theory of supernatural influence to make sense of it all. She asserted that Eugene was possessed. She said: “That wasn’t him, that was his body but it wasn’t his spirit. Somebody did this to him.”
Eugene's girlfriend claims that her boyfriend was a God-fearing man. According to Tampa Bay Times, she said that on the day the incident happened, he woke her up at 5:30 a.m., said he loved her and kissed her goodbye. Eugene, according to his girlfriend, left home clutching his Bible.
She said: "I told him be safe and I love you too. When he walked out the door I closed it, locked it and went back to sleep." Miami Herald reports that she said it was unusual that Eugene was leaving the house so early, but she did not query him about it.
She said Eugene did not tell her exactly where he was going. He only said he was going to meet with a "homeboy."
About an hour after Eugene left home, he called her on his cellphone. She said: "He called me and told me his car broke down. He said, 'I'll be home, but I'm going to be a little late.' Then he said, 'I'm going to call you right back.'"
When Eugene did not call back, she began feeling uneasy. She drove out to search for him thinking he might be stranded somewhere with his car. She said: "I was worried. I couldn't do anything. I just kept calling the phone. I left messages saying, 'Rudy, call me, I'm really worried.'"
Later, while watching the news on TV, she heard about a naked man who attacked another man and chewed off his face, and who was shot dead by police. She said she thought to herself, "Oh my god, that's crazy." But she did not know that it was Eugene.
She placed phone calls to friends on Sunday, asking whether they had seen Eugene.Then at 11 a.m. on Monday, a member of Eugene's family called her, crying on the phone, "Rudy's dead, Rudy's dead." She said, "I immediately started to scream. I don't know when I hung up the phone, I was hysterical."
It was later in the afternoon that she learned that the man everyone was calling the "Miami Zombie" was her boyfriend.
According to Miami Herald, she defended Eugene, saying that he was a different person than the attack suggests. She admitted he smoked marijuana often, but he was trying to quit. She said he did not use recreational drugs and would even refuse to take over-the-counter drugs for common ailments like headaches. She said that her boyfriend was "sweet and well-mannered."
She claims that her boyfriend was either drugged unknowingly or there was some supernatural involvement. She said that someone might have placed a voodoo curse on him. She claimed that she had never believed in voodoo, but "I don't know how else to explain this."
She met Eugene in 2007 and their five-year-relationship survived in spite of vicissitudes. Eugene worked at a car wash and was planning to own a business. She spoke of how he would sit on the bed or on the couch in the evenings with her to read from his Bible. He carried his Bible with him everywhere he went and often cited Bible verses to friends and family.
Tampa Bay Times, notes, however, that police records say Eugene had once been arrested on battery charges. He was arrested in 2004 after he threatened his mother with violence and smashed furniture in a domestic dispute, police records say. According to the records, he threatened a police officer who had to use a taser gun on him. His mother, Ruth Charles, told officers: "Thank God you're here, he would have killed me." According to police records, he had told his mother, "I'll put a gun to your head and kill you."
But it seems that Eugene's mother thinks that was only an isolated incident. According to the CBS Miami, Eugene's mother defended her son, saying, “I feel devastated. He was a nice kid. He was a good kid. Everyone says he was a zombie. He was no zombie.That was my son.”
Miami Herald reports she said: "I'm his first love... he's a nice kid... he was not a delinquent." She echoed his girlfriend's suspicion: "I don't know what they injected in him to turn him into the person who did what he did."
Eugene's friends corroborated the impression of the man by his mother and girlfriend. Joe Aurelus, a teenage friend of Eugene's, said he was trying to stop pot-smoking. Friends were texting him Bible verses to encourage him. Aurelus said he was with Eugene two weeks ago at a friend's house and Eugene clutched a Bible in his hands. Aureleus said: "He was going through a lot with his family. Rudy was battling the devil."
According to CBS Miami, Eugene’s friend Bobby, said Eugene had something he wanted to tell his friends before he died. But he never had the chance to say it. According to Bobby, "He said he had something that he wanted to tell us, but he didn’t know that we would understand. I don’t know what it was.”
All his friends say he wasn't a drinker or a drug addict. Bobby said that when he saw Eugene on Thursday, he said: "he wanted to get his life right and that he wanted to get closer to God. And he wanted to stop smoking pot. That’s it.”
Meanwhile, police have been trying to piece together what happened on the evening of the attack. According to Daily Mail, police say he attended a Memorial Day weekend beach party and after his car broke down, he attempted a three-mile journey home on foot. As he walked along, he took off and scattered his clothes along the causeway. Police say they found his driver's license and clothes strewn from the beach to the mainland. Apparently, he ran into the victim sleeping on the elevated train tracks and pounced on him.
Eugene's victim, Ronald Poppo, 65, remains in a critical condition at the Jackson Memorial Hospital with much of his face torn off. According to the Daily Mail, his sister Antoinette Poppo, said she thought he had killed himself many years ago.
Daily Mail reports Ms Poppo, said: "I really don’t understand what happened. We really thought he was no longer on this earth."
Poppo had been living on the streets of Florida for three decades, estranged from his family who thought he had committed suicide many years before. According to Miami Herald, Poppo was seen regularly outside a public restroom on the north side of Jungle Island in Miami.
According to Daily Mail, Poppo was once student at a prestigious New York school.