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"Zombie Apocalypse" Update: CDC Says No Zombies, Victim Has Long-Lost Daughter

rudy eugene, ronald poppo, zombie apocalypse, cannibal attacks, man whose face was eaten, ronald poppo long lost daughter

Rudy Eugene and Ronald Poppo

More and more news outlets are questioning the idea of reporting on “zombie” attacks after Lindy West’s thoughtful post on Jezebel last week titled, There Is No Miami Zombie Apocalypse, Just Mentally Ill People With No Safety Net. Yes it’s true, there have been several instances of people behaving in bizarre and gruesome ways recently, but these type of stories are (sadly) nothing new – they’ve just never been aggregated and posted on the web in “listicles” before. This is hardly the first time we’ve seen reporting of morose or disturbing things come in waves, though. Remember in January 2011 when that giant flock of birds dropped ominously from the sky? Then suddenly stories of mass animal deaths were everywhere? My sister told me once, “It’s like when you buy a red car, then everywhere you go all you can see is red cars.” That’s your “zombie apocalypse.”

You may also recall that almost exactly one year ago, the CDC thought it would be cute to use the “zombie apocalypse” to sell disaster preparedness, and they even created a website dedicated to the scheme. (You’ll not be surprised to find out it is “currently unavailable.”) As The Daily Caller put it, “When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began issuing its satirical zombie preparedness alerts, they probably never thought they’d actually have to deny the existence of real zombies.” Yes, the CDC sent out an actual email this weekend reassuring America that the “CDC does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead (or one that would present zombie-like symptoms).”

So what is really going on here? We know now that Rudy Eugene, the naked man who was shot and killed by police in Miami last week after attacking and eating Ronald Poppo’s face, was believed to be in a psychosis induced by taking “bath salts.” It was also reported Friday that Poppo, who is in critical condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, has a long-lost daughter in New Jersey who he abandoned when she was 2.

Janice Poppo DiBello was informed by police last week after his attack that Ronald Poppo is her biological father. DiBello told The Daily News that she’d never met her father, and so undoubtedly she was distressed to discover he was the man in the midst of the most sensational story in the nation. According to the paper, “she’s unsure about making the trip south to visit the wounded man who wandered away 42 years ago.” That’s completely understandable. Like DiBello, I’ve never met my biological father, and I certainly can’t imagine seeing him for the first time without 4/5ths of his facial features intact. DiBello’s mother, Poppo’s ex-wife Theresa Chesler, told The Daily News, “I have nothing to say. We were divorced, probably in 1970. And nobody’s heard from him since then.”

DiBello tried finding her biological father “15 years ago, working with public records and a friend’s husband — a police officer,” but “The trail quickly went cold.” DiBello says she assumed he was dead. Poppo’s sister, Antoinette Poppo told the paper during a separate interview, “I tried to reach him, and I just thought he killed himself,” she said. “We really thought he was no longer on this Earth.” Poppo graduated from Stuyvesant High School in New York City in 1964 and is remembered as a “nice guy.”

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