Though he was nicknamed the "Causeway Cannibal" in the aftermath of last month's disturbing attack, Rudy Eugene's autopsy report revealed that the so-called "Miami Zombie" had not actually swallowed any of Ronald Poppo's flesh prior to being shot and killed by a Miami police officer.
This news was no doubt cold comfort to Eugene's family and friends, who arrived at Grace Funeral Home on Friday to pay their final respects to the 31-year-old.
Eugene's brother, Markenson Charles, remembered a much different person than the one who gnawed off a homeless man's face by the side of the road three weeks ago — and indeed a different person than the one who threatened to kill their mother on more than one occasion.
"Rudy was always a very affectionate person," Charles told mourners. as he recalled being frequently showered by his siblings hugs and kisses. "What I wouldn't give for a kiss right now," he said.
Thoughts also turned to the victim of Eugene's vicious attack, who remains in the hospital in critical but stable condition. "This morning, I ask, as you grieve, you remember Mr. Ronald in your prayers," said Pastor Keny Felix, who also noted that losing a loved one is "even more painful when it's unexpected and when it doesn't make sense."
A serious question mark still hangs over the catalyst of Eugene's grisly episode. Police have theorized that the designer drug known as "bath salts" may have played a role in the incident, but no evidence of a link has surfaced.
Eugene had marijuana in his system at the time of the attack, and undigested pills were found inside his stomach, but their identity remains unknown.
A complete toxicology report is still several weeks away.
Meanwhile, that other infamous case involving an alleged cannibal is threatening to cast its long shadow on Miami as well.
Local police say they will investigate the possibility that "Montreal Butcher" Luka Rocco Magnotta was involved the 2009 dismembering of 21 year-old Omar Laparra, whose body parts were found in plastic bags floating in Biscayne Bay.
Online forum posts suggest Magnotta may have been living in the area at the time.
Montreal police last week said the LAPD would be investigating a potential Magnotta link to the unsolved "Hollywood Sign body parts murder" of gay flight attendant Hervey Medellin.
[photo via AP]