The first photos of the so-called "Miami Zombie Attack" victim, Ronald Poppo, have been released by the hospital treating him, revealing the horrific injuries he suffered two weeks ago. A press conference held Tuesday has seen doctors describing Poppo as alert and positive, as more details emerge into the attack and his injuries.
- Twitter: Ronald Poppo
The photos released show the top half of Poppo's face covered in thick bloody scabs; his nose is missing and one of his eye sockets is covered, with the other covered by a skin graft.
Poppo lost 50 percent of his face in the cannibalistic attack that shocked America, and it was confirmed by doctors that they had to remove one eye, which was gouged out by attacker, Rudy Eugene, and was beyond saving. The other eye, however, has been bandaged up in the hope that it will heal and that Poppo may regain some sight from that eye.
In new revelations, it was also confirmed that doctors found two holes in Poppo's chest. Although they would not confirm yet, it is speculated that the holes may be bullet wounds Poppo suffered when police fired multiple times at Eugene to end the attack. Eugene was on top of Poppo eating his face when police opened fire. He had refused to stop despite repeated demands from officers.
Doctors described Poppo as a positive person, and that he has been talking a lot and is interested in the Miami Heat's NBA Playoff games. He even told doctors, "Go Heat!"
Although Poppo has begun his recovery, he is expected to remain in the trauma center for "weeks at least." So far doctors have reported he has had three surgeries and will still need an undetermined number of skin grafts and future surgeries.
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE OF RONALD POPPO BELOW
They also spoke about a possible future face transplant. But they will not know whether one would be possible for him until his face heals further, and also the final decision whether to have one or not would remain with Poppo.
It is still unknown why Rudy Eugene attacked Poppo under the Miami Causeway two weeks ago. An autopsy has revealed that Eugene had a number of undigested pills in his stomach, and also that he had been smoking marijuana. However, further tests to find out what substances were in his system will take weeks longer to determine.
Eugene's funeral was held on Saturday, and his family and friends remembered him as a loving and caring person who believed in God. His friends have described him as someone who would often cite Bible verses to them during conversations. It has also now been revealed that Eugene was carrying a Bible with him the day of the attack. Torn pages from his Bible were found scattered around the scene of the attack afterwards, CBS News Miami has confirmed.
- (Photo: Handout-Jackson Memorial Hospital)
Poppo, who is currently being treated at Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial, has reportedly received no family visits at this point.
However, it has been revealed that he has a long-lost, 44-year-old daughter living in New Jersey, who has said she has not seen him since she was a toddler. Janice Poppo DiBello has reported that she didn't even know whether he was alive. She told the New York Daily News, "I'm really upset because I haven't met my father."
She added, "Since I was 2 years old, him and my mom got divorced and there was no — like how normal divorces are, where you see your father."
"Nobody ever heard anything from him, so I've never met him. I didn't know if he was alive or dead."
It was also revealed at today's press conference that a fund has been set up to raise money to help Poppo. The Jackson Memorial Foundation has set up the fund, and thus far it's raised $15,000.
Donations can be made through Neighbors 4 Neighbors by calling (305) 597-4404.
People can also make a donation through the Jackson Memorial Foundation website, www.jmf.org. Click the "Take Action Now" tab, and then click on donations. Once you are on the donation page, select "other" in the contribution details section and input: Ronald Poppo.
Donations can also be made by writing a check to Jackson Memorial Foundation and including Mr. Poppo's name in the memo portion.
Checks can be mailed to:
Jackson Memorial Foundation
Park Plaza East
901 N.W. 17th Street
Miami, FL 33136