It wasn’t bath salts.
According to a full toxicology report released Wednesday afternoon by the Miami-Dade medical examiner, the only drug detected in the lifeless body ofinfamous Miami face-chewer Rudy Eugene was marijuana.
“The department’s toxicology laboratory has identified the active components of marijuana,” the medical examiner said in a statement, according to NBC Miami. “The laboratory has tested for but not detected any other street drugs, alcohol or prescription drugs…This includes cocaine, LSD, amphetamines (Extasy, Meth and others), phencyclidine (PCP or Angel Dust), heroin, oxycodone, Xanax, synthetic marijuana (Spice), and many other similar compounds.”
The medical examiner’s office had a second forensic toxicology lab confirm the absence of common ingredients of bath salts, a synthetic amphetamine cocktail blamed in several recent incidents that bear some similarity to Eugene’s attack.
The report did not address previously reported autopsy findings of what appeared to be undigested pills in Eugene’s stomach, according to the Miami Herald, and an expert told the Associate Press marijuana alone was not likely to cause such an attack:
“The problem today is that there is an almost an infinite number of chemical substances out there that can trigger unusual behavior,” said Dr. Bruce Goldberger, Professor and Director of Toxicology at the University of Florida.Goldberger said that the medical examiner’s office in Miami is known for doing thorough work and that he’s confident they and the independent lab covered as much ground as possible. But it’s nearly impossible for toxicology testing to keep pace with new formulations of synthetic drugs.
“…The challenge today for the toxicology lab is to stay on top of these new chemicals and develop methodologies for them, but it’s very difficult and very expensive.” Goldberger said. “There is no one test or combination of tests that can detect every possible substance out there.”
The medical examiner’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Eugene, 31, was widely speculated to have been on some form of synthetic drugs or suffering a drug-induced psychosis the afternoon of May 26 when he stripped naked and brutally attacked homeless resident Ronald Poppo in broad daylight along Miami’s busy MacArthur Causeway, chewing and ripping off roughly half of the older man’s face.
A police officer responding to multiple 911 calls shot and killed Eugene as he crouched over Poppo, reportedly refusing to stop the gruesome assault by growling at the officer with Poppo’s flesh in his mouth.
The 18-minute attack and its aftermath were captured on surveillance video from the Miami Herald’s parking garage, but it is still unknown what prompted Eugene to commit such a horrific crime.
Records show Eugene had been arrested 8 times since the age of 16, including 4 instances involving marijuana. But though he was once accused of threatening to kill his mother, friends and family members alike say they never expected such violence from Eugene, who was participating in a Bible study, reading the Koran, and telling friends he wanted to stop smoking marijuana.
“There’s no answer for it, not really,” Eugene’s younger brother, Marckenson Charles, told the AP. “Anybody who knew him knows this wasn’t the person we knew him to be. Whatever triggered him, there is no answer for this.”
Poppo, meanwhile, is doing “well,” according to doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center. The 65-year-old has lost one eye, is missing his nose, and faces a string of surgeries to repair his wounds and reconstruct his face.
“We have mental health professionals to help him with the coping, and he’s coping remarkably well,” said plastic surgeon Dr. Wrood Kassira.
This is a developing story.