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Friday June 29, 2012

Not making any sense out of the causeway cannibal's autopsy report

Rudy Eugene So, Obamacare, right guys? But also the face cannibal. Maybe especially the face cannibal, since right now the Obamacare thing is getting lots and lots and lots of attention. (Although maybe not one particular aspect, which being how fucked up it is that Anthony Kennedy voted against it.) So the autopsy report of Rudy Eugene, the causeway cannibal, was released. The Miami Dade Medical Examiner brought in an outside toxicology lab to assist, and together they found nothing but pot in his system. The Google is not strong with me this morning, and I’ve not found the report, or even a press release, on the medical examiner’s web site. But here is the quote being repeated on numerous news sites:

The laboratory has tested for but not detected any other street drugs, alcohol or prescription drugs, or any adulterants found in street drugs. This includes cocaine, LSD, amphetamines (Ecstasy, Meth and others), phencyclidine (PCP or Angel Dust), heroin, oxycodone, Xanax, synthetic marijuana (Spice), and many other similar compounds … within the limits of current technology by both laboratories.

Now let’s recall the timeline leading up to this incident. Rudy lives in Broward. He wakes up at 5:30 am during Urban Beach Weekend and heads to South Beach with his bible. He spends the morning there and when he tries to leave in the early afternoon he finds his car broken down. Next we have him walking back toward the mainland along the MacArthur Causeway, shedding his clothes, swinging from lamp posts, and tearing pages out of his bible. At around 2 pm he crosses the bridge to the mainland and finds a homeless guy, attacks him, strips off his clothes, and bites off pieces of his face in a prolonged attack. Eventually a police officer arrives at the scene and orders Rudy to stand down, and when he doesn’t the officer shoots and kills him.

There was all sorts of speculation that Rudy had done drugs on the beach that caused him to go psychotic, and an initial coroner’s report indicated that there were undigested pills found in his stomach. (The coroner’s report released this week doesn’t appear to mention this, which is extremely odd. If the initial report was wrong, why not say so to clear it up?) But here’s the thing: the bible. It was there at the end, and it was with him when he left the house in the morning. That’s the key to the whole thing, because it suggests that the attack wasn’t caused by something that happened on South Beach, but something that happened prior to everything else in this story.

He shed his car, his clothes, and even his gold teeth. Everything except for his bible. It was next to him when they hauled away his shot-up body. He tore pages from it ceremonially as he walked across the causeway. (Have you walked the MacArthur Causeway? I’ve walked it. I’ve biked it. I drove across it twice a day for years. It is maybe the most beautiful stretch of road. Walking it is not untranscendental.) Rudy was clearly having a psychotic/religious experience. (Or as Eowyn puts it, “demonic posession.”) Check out Brief Psychotic Disorder. (“Grossly disorganized” behavior? Check.) The guy lost his mind, quite possibly due to brain damage or a brain tumor, which are headline causes of Psychosis. I’m assuming the coroner would have mentioned a tumor if they’d found it, so it’s something that does not show up in this kind of autopsy.


Tuesday May 6, 2008

oh NOSE!!: There are people panhandling in the Grove!!. Read the comments for some stories of lives devastated by this menace.


Thursday July 5, 2007



Edgewater is one of the most quickly changing neighborhoods in Miami. Historic houses that date back to the earliest days of Miami stand (and often fall) among modern high-rises, many still under construction. There is an excitement there, but also the unease that comes from development that is too much, too quick, and too disorganized. I talked about this in my Miami 21 article, but the truth is that Edgewater is in some ways a case study in how not to do development, and in a decade may look like a hodgepodge if surrounding neighborhoods are developed under the new code.

But right now, the rapid change is causing some frayed nerves. The new buildings isolate their residents high above the street and behind security, so that when they, say, run into homeless folks at the gas station, there is some natural tension. And while it’s easy to make fun of this “What — poor people live near me?!” attitude, the thought of an officially-sanctioned colony of homeless sex-offenders nearby would give anyone understandable (if ultimately irrational) jitters.

It’s too bad the Miami Herald didn’t talk to the Edgewater residents who don’t live in buildings with security guards and locked garages, because the residents living in the older buildings in the neighborhood deal with much more serious problems, not the least of which is regular break-ins (I actually have talked to those people). But not to fear. As this transformation proceeds and the neighborhood fills out with a new population of middle-class folks, the homeless and the criminals will gradually move elsewhere, and things will be hunky-dory in Edgewater again.

Update: Where is Edgewater? This map shows it lumped in with Wynwood, but Edgewater is the eastern slice of the orange block — between US-1 and the bay and between downtown and I-195.


Thursday January 11, 2007

Bennet on the recent developments at Umoja Village, a shantytown at 62nd St. and NW 17th Ave. More here, here, and on the Village’s blog.