Face-Eater Victim Slid From Top NYC School to Streets

Poppo's classmates include top Miami plastic surgeon
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 31, 2012 8:07 AM CDT
Face-Eater Victim Slid From Top NYC School to Streets
This undated mugshot made available by the Miami-Dade Police Dept. shows Ronald Poppo.    (AP Photo/Miami-Dade Police Dept.)

Ronald Poppo graduated from a prestigious New York City high school and once joked about becoming president, the New York Daily News finds in a look at the homeless man whose face was chewed off in a horrific Miami attack. He was in Stuyvesant High School's class of 1964, along with many notables, including WNBC sports anchor Len Berman, President Clinton’s adviser Dick Morris, and, in a strange twist, Felix Freshwater, a leading plastic surgeon in Miami who rebuilt the face of a boy attacked by a pit bull in 1979.

"The sad reality is there are many brilliant people who become schizophrenic and end up on the streets," says Freshwater, who remembers his classmate as "a really nice guy." Another classmate says Poppo signed his yearbook "First Italian in the White House, 1984." He says he lost touch with Poppo after joining the military and was disappointed when he couldn't be tracked down for class reunions. Poppo's sister says the family hadn't heard from him in decades and thought he was dead. "We thought he was no longer of this Earth," she says. "I’m just glad my mother is not here to see this." The 65-year-old, who lost more than 75% of his face, remains in critical condition in hospital. (More Ronald Poppo stories.)

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