MIAMI (CBS4) – Before 65-year-old Ronald Poppo lost his face in a cannibalistic attack, he had completely lost touch with his family.
His brother, Joe, says he was shocked to read about Saturday’s attack in the newspaper.
“Reading the name Ronald and that he was 65, I had to conclude that it had to be my brother,” said Joe Poppo.
Joe Poppo, 71, says he hasn’t spoken with his homeless brother in at least 30 years.
“What did you think had happened to him?” asked CBS4’s Gio Benitez.
“We had no idea,” said Poppo. “We didn’t even know if he was alive or not.
He says his brother was the only one in the family to attend the elite Stuyvesant High School in New York City.
Sometime in college, Joe Poppo said his baby brother changed. That change would be the beginning of a long life of crime and homelessness.
“You know, sadly, there must have been something in his early years that contributed to this,” said Poppo. “He was a very intelligent individual.”
Then there’s the man police say chewed off Poppo’s face — the so-called cannibal — 31 year old Rudy Eugene.
Surveillance video shows he walked across the MacArthur Causeway naked, and attacked Poppo for a brutal 15 minutes before police arrived and shot Eugene dead.
On Facebook, under the name Rude Turk, Eugene wrote about religion.
One post reads, “deliver me from my enemies oh my lord”. Another reads, “Your three worst enemies are you, the word, and the devil”.
His friend, who asked to remain anonymous, thinks someone slipped Eugene some kind of drug.
“I saw the video, and that’s not Rudy. Physically, it was Rudy, but mentally that was not Rudy,” said Eugene’s friend.
He says just days before the attack he said something very cryptic.
“He said he had something that he wanted to tell us, but he didn’t know that we would understand,” said the friend. “I don’t know what it was.”