The best advice you could give this week was "Don't Google 'Ronald Poppo face'."
Close-up and extremely graphic photos of the victim in last weekend's face-eating attack have been passed around the Internet in the days since the bizarre incident.
And according to the Miami Herald, whoever leaked the gruesome photos will endure ethical or legal consequences, especially if employed by the county.
The Herald reports photos of the deceased attacker and his victim have been traced as far back as the Twitter account of a Cuban puppet named Pepe Billete, who posted them on Instagram and Twitter Monday night.
The character, whose Twitter account notes "opinions expressed on this account are for entertainment purposes only," is infamous in Miami for his YouTube videos and Miami New Times columns in which he rants about local issues in Spanglish. He later indicated the images were taken down after he was reported to Instagram. (See update below.)
A day after the attack, someone offered to sell the crime scene and graphic face images to RadarOnline.com, who reported the offer to Miami Police. Det. Frankie Sanchez told Radar they were opening an investigation and said “it is illegal to take pictures of a crime scene; it is the Dale Earnhardt law that it is illegal to solicit payment for photos of a crime scene.”
Poppo was the victim of Rudy Eugene, a man suspected to be in a drug-induced delirium when he hunched over Poppo's body, stripped him, beat him, and then gnawed off 80% of his face.
According to officials at the scene just off the MacArthur Causeway, the victim's face was peeled off in strips, with only the chin left intact.
The startling scene haunts eyewitness witnesses such as Larry Vega who could only describe what he saw by likening it to Hollywood gore.
It also haunts seasoned law enforcement officers, one of which called it the goriest thing he has ever seen.
Poppo remains in the Intensive Care Unit at Jackson Memorial Hospital and is at risk for life-threatening infections from the bacteria in Eugene's saliva. He also faces a series of reconstruction surgeries.
The grisly photos in question show Poppo in a neck brace and with a tube down his throat so the photographer is thought to be someone from Miami police, fire-rescue, or Jackson.
Among others news outlets, Gawker posted the NSFW photos of Poppo's face almost completely devoid of skin, prompting outrage in their notoriously opinionated commenters:
The fact that you would post that is just awful. This poor man is going to die or never have a normal life again and less than 24 hours after it happens you're posting these pics to get some web traffic? --ThisIsSad
This is a damn shame that Gawker has to resort to this to get pageviews. Has it occurred to anyone that this man has probably not be identified yet and maybe his immediate family has not be notified of his condition. Do you really want your darkest hour to be photographed and plastered all over the internet. --Essie22
UPDATE, 2 p.m.: Responding to media reports, Pepe Billete said the photos did not originate with him:
HOW YOU CAN HELP: The Jackson Memorial Foundation has set up a fund to assist Ronald Poppo in his recovery, which experts in facial reconstruction have said will include lengthy treatment, staged reconstruction, and psychological care. Donations can be made by check or online at jmf.org.
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