Stepfather, friend talk about alleged cannibal attack
NORTH MIAMI, Fla. (WSVN) -- Nearly a week after an alleged cannibal attack, the stepfather of the attacker is speaking out, and an old friend of the victim is talking about his past.
The Rudy Eugene seen on surveillance video, launching an 18-minute attack on a homeless man, ripping his face to shreds with his teeth, seems like a stranger to those who raised him and those who loved him.
Eugene's stepfather raised him from age 2 and asked that we not identify him as we spoke to him through a cracked door. "Something happened to him," he said. "That's not him doing all that."
Yavoka Bryant said she was Eugene's girlfriend. She posted these pictures on her Facebook page, and she said he was a sweet boyfriend.
However, court records show a violent past, with seven arrests in five years for battery and drugs. "One time, the time he tried to scare his mom to get some information out of her, then I show up and everything went calm," said Eugene's stepfather.
A towing citation showed that Eugene left his Chevy Impala parked on a Miami Beach street sometime before 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Hours later, he walked across the MacArthur Causeway, stripped naked and attacked 65-year-old Ronald Poppo.
Poppo is a New York native who had been homeless for decades. His last known place of residency was Camillus House. "I mean, there's insanity, and then there's something that's past that," said Dan Ruvin.
Ruvin knew Poppo at Stuyvesant High School in New York City and tried to find him for a 2004 reunion. "We had a pretty good bunch of detectives trying to track down everybody, and the fact that he couldn't be found was an indication that he was gone from the grid," said Ruvin. "I'm shocked. I will certainly try to get a hold of him. I hope he pulls through."
He remembers Poppo scrawling this message: "The first Italian in the White House in 1984" under his own yearbook photo.
Eugene's stepfather said his stepson also had big dreams. "He always promised me, 'I'm going to make it. Don't worry, daddy, I'm going to make it. I'm going to make it.'"
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