Spiral Into Darkness: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (Part 1)

Photo: Screencap from A&E Biography, "Jeffrey Dahmer: The Monster Within (1996)."

Thirty-two-year-old Tracy Edwards was running from a real-life house of horrors. Little did he know that the mild-mannered man who approached him five hours earlier would try to kill him. 

According to Edwards’s testimony at Dahmer’s trial, he was hanging out with friends in Milwaukee Wisconsin, on July 22, 1991. A man, later identified as Jeffrey Dahmer, approached him and offered him $100 to pose for nude photos. 

At Dahmer’s apartment, Edwards was immediately turned off by a “foul odor.” Dahmer claimed that the smell was from a broken sewer pipe in the building that management had to fix. Dahmer served Edwards a rum and Coke. When he turned to take a look at Dahmer’s aquarium, Dahmer slapped a pair of handcuffs on his wrist. This was just the beginning of a five-hour ordeal. Dahmer held Edwards at knife-point and played a VHS tape of the film, The Exorcist III. Dahmer’s personality shifted back and forth from calm to threatening to zoning out, rocking back and forth, and unintelligible “chanting.”

At one point, Dahmer put his head on Edward’s chest and told him that he was going to eat his heart. Edwards managed to remain calm and talked to Dahmer. “…to let him know I was his friend,” Edwards said. When Edwards got up to go to the bathroom, Dahmer followed. Edwards saw his opportunity, hit Dahmer, and ran from the apartment.

At 11:30 p.m., police officers, Rolf Mueller and Robert Rauth, saw a young African-American male waving them down. Dahmer’s cuffs still dangled from Edwards’s left wrist. He told the officers that “some freak” put handcuffs on him and he wanted the officers to get them off. The officers’ keys didn’t match. They asked Edwards to show them where this “freak” lived.

A man looks down deep in thought. His mouth is slightly open as if about to say something.
Tracy Edwards, 32, lived to tell about his experience with Jeffrey Dahmer. His escape led to the capture of one of history’s most notorious serial killers. (Photo: Screencap from A&E Biography, “Jeffrey Dahmer: The Monster Within” (1996).

According to Brian Masters’ book, The Shrine of Jeffrey Dahmer, Edwards directed them to the Oxford Apartments, apartment 213. Dahmer let the officers in and admitted to putting the cuffs on Edwards. He didn’t explain why. Dahmer told the officers that the key was in the bedroom. He gave them permission to go in there. Edwards told the officers that Dahmer had threatened him with a knife.

Officer Mueller went into the bedroom. He saw a knife on the floor near the bed. The top dresser drawer was open. Mueller noticed dozens of Polaroid pictures of naked men. He took a closer look and saw that the photos were of body parts—severed limbs and heads in various stages of decomposition. He also noticed from the background that they were taken in the apartment. Dahmer was placed under arrest. [1] 

Dahmer put up a fight but the officers managed to cuff him. Edwards told the officers to look in the refrigerator. When Mueller opened the refrigerator, he saw the head of an African-American male staring up at him from a cardboard box on the bottom shelf. [2] 

The officers called the Criminal Investigation Bureau. Detectives, the local fire department, and officials from the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office began to arrive after midnight. 

Detective Patrick Kennedy took Jeffrey Dahmer to the police station. Kennedy’s first interview with Dahmer would last from 1:30 a.m. to 7:15 a.m. At the police station, Dahmer confessed but not to a recent murder. His confession began with a murder in Bath, Ohio, in 1978. He would eventually confess to the murders of 17 young men and boys.

A small white freezer is being carried down steps by two people off camera.
A small white freezer was one of many items removed from Dahmer’s apartment. He was using it to store body parts of his victims. Photo: Screencap from A&E Biography, “Jeffrey Dahmer: The Monster Within (1996).”

Methods of a Madman

In his book, Dahmer Detective, Kennedy writes that he didn’t believe Dahmer’s confession at first. It wasn’t until Kennedy’s interview was interrupted, and he was told about all of the body parts found in Dahmer’s apartment, that he believed him. [3] 

Kennedy got Dahmer to agree to help identify each victim. He and Detective Dennis Murphy showed Dahmer photos of missing persons that matched the dates that Dahmer recalled. To check Dahmer’s accuracy, Kennedy and Murphy included pictures of people who were alive and well in each photo array. Dahmer successfully identified each victim.

Dahmer also gave them all of the details. Dahmer picked up his victims mostly in gay bars and clubs, Milwaukee’s Grand Avenue Mall, and at bus stops. His victims were of various ages and races, from 14 to 33 years of age. While mostly African-American, some of his victims were Latino, Asian, and White. Dahmer lured most of them to his apartment with the promise of money in exchange for nude photos and sex. Once at the apartment, he served them a drink laced with a strong sedative.

After each victim was unconscious, Dahmer engaged in sex acts with them before strangling them. After they were dead, he would perform sex acts on the body and snuggle with it. Eventually, he would deflesh their skeletons. He photographed the bodies during each stage of dismemberment. He chopped up the flesh into small pieces which he put into double-wrapped garbage bags. Later, he began dissolving his victims’ remains in a 57-gallon blue barrel filled with muriatic acid. He tried to preserve parts of his victims including skulls, a scalp, three heads, hands, and genitals.

Many mental health professionals who talked with Dahmer, and even Dahmer himself, said that he killed because he wanted a completely compliant partner. Dahmer said himself that he singled out those whom he found the most attractive. At one point, Dahmer tried lobotomizing his victims to keep them alive and completely submissive. He used a power drill to make a hole in the top of their skulls. He then used a syringe to inject acid into the hole.

The Victims

A black and white photo of a smiling young man with shaggy dark hair
Steven Hicks, 19, was Dahmer’s first known victim in 1978. Hicks was hitchhiking when he crossed paths with the then 18-year-old Dahmer. Photo: Screencap from A&E Biography, “Jeffrey Dahmer: The Monster Within” (1996).

Dahmer’s first victim was 19-year-old Steven Hicks in Bath, Ohio, on June 18, 1978. Dahmer was out for a drive and saw Hicks hitchhiking. Dahmer’s parents had recently divorced and he had the house to himself. Dahmer invited Hicks to his house for some beers. When Hicks tried to leave, Dahmer bludgeoned him with a barbell and strangled him. [4]

Dahmer put Hicks’ body in the crawl space under his parents’ house. Eventually, Dahmer dismembered him and placed the body parts in garbage bags. Dahmer decided to load the bags in his father’s car and take them to a garbage dump. It was about 3:00 a.m. when police stopped Dahmer for erratic driving. Dahmer passed a sobriety test and was asked why he was out driving so late. Police also asked about the bags in the backseat of the car. Dahmer said that he was having trouble sleeping and decided to go out for a drive. He figured he would take the garbage with him to the dump. The officers gave him a ticket and told him to go back home.

Dahmer stashed Hicks’ remains in a sewer pipe on his parents’ property. Three years later, after he was discharged from the Army, Dahmer pulverized the bones with a sledgehammer, and scattered the fragments in his parents’ backyard. 

Kennedy recalled that years later, after Dahmer’s arrest, Ohio police sent Lt. Richard Munsey to Milwaukee with photos of Hicks for Dahmer to identify. Munsey was shocked when he looked up the traffic stop from 1978 and found out that he was the officer who let Dahmer go. Ohio found what remained of Steven Hicks in the backyard of Dahmer’s childhood home. He also found Hicks’s necklace in a river where Dahmer told investigators he dumped it. [5]

Dahmer wouldn’t kill again until November 21, 1987. Steven Tuomi, age 25, of Michigan, was working in a popular Milwaukee diner, George Webb’s, as a cook. Tuomi usually worked from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. On his night off, he decided to head to the 219 Club. Tuomi left the club and went to the Ambassador Hotel with Dahmer.

The two drank and Dahmer blacked out. The next morning, he had no memory of what happened. Tuomi was dead. The man’s chest was bloody and bruised and so were Dahmer’s arms. Dahmer bought a suitcase at the Grand Avenue Mall and managed to fit Tuomi’s body inside. He got a cab back to his grandmother’s house in West Allis, Wisconsin, where he was living at the time. He stored Tuomi’s body in his grandmother’s fruit cellar until he could safely dispose of it.

On January 17, 1988, James Doxtator, age 14, met Dahmer at a bus stop. According to Masters, Doxtator didn’t have a good relationship with his stepfather. He was close to his mother, Debra. He was thinking of leaving home. Dahmer offered him $50 to come back to his grandmother’s house with him. Doxtator’s mother reported him missing on January 18. [6] 

On March 27, 1988, Richard Guerrero, age 23, met Dahmer outside of the Phoenix Bar at 2:00 a.m. According to Masters, his father, Pablo Guerrero, reported him missing on March 29. Guerrero’s father also contacted local newspapers and placed announcements with Guerrero’s picture. The case went cold. [7]

In April 1988, Ronald Flowers, age 25, met Dahmer outside of the 219 Club. Flowers’s car wouldn’t start. Dahmer offered to give Flowers’s car a jump but said that he had to take a cab home to get his car (Dahmer didn’t own a car). At this point, Flowers was not intoxicated. He had only one drink at the club. [8] 

Masters writes that Flowers said that Dahmer’s friendly demeanor changed during the cab ride. Dahmer avoided eye contact and complained about his job and family. Flowers just wanted to get his car started and go home. When they got to West Allis, Flowers was suspicious when didn’t see a car anywhere. [9] 

When they went into the house, Flowers heard a voice call out ” ‘Is that you, Jeff?’ Yes, Grandma,’ Dahmer said. ‘I’m just going to make myself a cup of coffee.’ ” [10] 

Flowers described Dahmer as visibly nervous as he made the coffee. Flowers blacked out and was unconscious for two days before waking up in a hospital. Flowers learned that someone found him unconscious in a field. No drugs were detected in his system and there was no evidence of a sexual assault. Flowers discovered that some jewelry and $200 in cash were missing. [11]

Flowers later found that he had bruises on his neck and his underwear were inside out. According to Masters, Flowers contacted police on April 5. He filed a report accusing Dahmer of drugging and robbing him. Flowers was able to remember the house in West Allis. Police went to Dahmer’s grandmother’s house. Dahmer denied everything. He said Flowers was so intoxicated that he had to help him get to the bus stop. Dahmer’s grandmother, Catherine Dahmer, corroborated his story. She said that she saw her grandson in the basement preparing a bed for Flowers and that she saw them leave the next morning. Dahmer wasn’t charged with anything. [12] 

Masters says that three months later, Flowers’ friends had to stop him from attacking Dahmer when he saw him at the 219 Club. Flowers even stopped another man from going home with Dahmer that night. [13]

A headshot of a smiling young man.
Steven Tuomi, 25, was murdered in 1987. Dahmer confessed that he killed Tuomi in 1987, nine years after his first murder. Photo: Screencap from A&E Biography, “Jeffrey Dahmer: The Monster Within” (1996).

Somsack Sinthasomphone met Dahmer on September 26, 1988. According to Masters, he was a student at the Milwaukee School of the Arts. Somsack’s Laotian family had lived in the United States for eight years. Dahmer told him that he had purchased a new camera and wanted to take some pictures. He offered Somsack $50 to model for him. Somsack hesitated but let his guard down. He said that Dahmer seemed like a “nice guy.” [14]

Dahmer had just moved out of his grandmother’s house. He wasn’t yet living at Oxford Apartments. At his apartment, Dahmer asked Somsack to take off his shirt and pose on the bed. Dahmer made him a cup of coffee. He wanted Somsack to open the front of his pants. He reluctantly obliged halfway. Dahmer pulled the zipper down all the way and tried to fondle him. Dahmer said “You know I want more than a picture.” [15] 

Dahmer managed to persuade him to sit down with him before he left. Dahmer’s behavior became more inappropriate and bizarre. He told Somsack that he wanted to hear his stomach. When Dahmer put his head on Somsack’s stomach, he grabbed his backpack and ran out the door. After he got home, he passed out. His father couldn’t wake him and took him to the Good Samaritan Hospital. Doctors determined that Somsack had overdosed and called the police.[16]

That night, Somsack told police what happened. Police went to Dahmer’s apartment. They found out that he worked nights at Ambrosia Chocolate Factory and arrested him there. Dahmer was sentenced to one year in the House of Correction and five years probation. Dahmer was put on the work-release program. He would report to his job at night and go back to the House of Correction after his shift. [17]

As he awaited his sentencing for sexual assault on Somsack, Dahmer was once again in West Allis with Catherine Dahmer. Even during this period, he managed to kill. Masters writes that 24-year-old Anthony Sears was at a bar called La Cage on March 20,1989. Sears was with a friend, Jeff Connor. Described as outgoing and friendly, Sears approached Dahmer. Connor was talking to someone else but heard the conversation. Dahmer told Sears that he lived in Chicago and was in Milwaukee visiting his grandmother. Connor offered to give them a ride. [18] 

Connor said that he told Sears that he had an uneasy feeling about Dahmer. He also told Sears to call him for a ride home. Connor left Sears with Dahmer at 3:00 a.m. Sears never called Connor for a ride. Connor went back to West Allis but wasn’t sure which house was the one where he dropped Sears off. Another friend of Sears, Karolee Lodahl, filed a missing persons report with police. She went to Sears’s apartment and saw that his pets weren’t fed. Police interviewed Connor and he gave a full description of Dahmer. Nothing would come of it. Connor never saw Dahmer again.  [19] 

On May 20, 1990, Raymond Smith, age 32, aka “Cash D,” a sex worker, met Dahmer outside the 219 Club. He left with Dahmer in a taxi. [20] 

Eddie Smith, age 27, was an aspiring dancer and drag queen. Smith is described as outgoing, friendly, and charismatic. He dreamed of stardom. According to Masters, Smith’s friend, Ted Frankforth, said that he saw Smith and Dahmer together in May of 1990. At this point, Dahmer had been released early from the House of Correction and was living at the Oxford Apartments. Frankforth said that Smith introduced him to Dahmer. Smith told friends that he was in contact with a movie producer who was interested in him. Smith had also introduced his brother, Henry, to Dahmer. “I didn’t believe he was capable of putting together a portfolio,” Henry said. “He was not flamboyant enough to be a producer. Too quiet and introverted. No style.” [21] 

Smith met up with Dahmer for the last time at the Phoenix Bar on June 24, 1990. Henry searched for his brother for months. He stood outside the Phoenix Bar with his brother’s picture and asked anyone passing by if they had seen him. [22]

Luis Pinet, age 15, worked part time doing maintenance for the 219 Club. On July 6, 1990, Pinet met Dahmer at the Phoenix Bar. Dahmer offered him $200 to model for him and sex. Dahmer didn’t attempt to kill Pinet that night but agreed to meet up with him again. [23] 

According to Masters, the two met up a second time. They went back to Dahmer’s apartment. Pinet was on Dahmer’s bed face down when Dahmer hit him with a rubber mallet (he ran out of sleeping pills). Pinet left without his $200 but came back to ask for bus fare. Dahmer grabbed him and the two fought. Pinet won but didn’t leave. Dahmer managed to talk Pinet into letting him tie his hands behind his back. Pinet got free and Dahmer threatened him with a knife. Pinet stayed in the apartment talking with Dahmer until 7:00 a.m. Pinet promised not to tell anyone about what happened. Dahmer walked him to the bus stop and paid for his cab fare home. [24]

Pinet didn’t keep his promise. The police never followed up on Pinet’s claims because he kept changing his story. Pinet saw Dahmer at the Grand Avenue Mall months later where they exchanged friendly small talk. Pinet next saw Dahmer in court when he testified. [25]

A page of black and white headshots of young men.
Photos of 16 of Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims. Photo: Melissa Bastek from The Shrine of Jeffrey Dahmer (1993).

Ernest Miller, age 23, of Chicago, met Dahmer outside of an adult bookstore in September 1990. It was 3:00 a.m. and all the bars were closed for the night. Dahmer offered him $50 to come home with him.  [26] 

David Thomas, age 22, was picked up and murdered by Dahmer on September 24, 1990.

Curtis Straughter, age 18, met Dahmer while waiting for a bus near Marquette University on February 17, 1991. Masters writes that Dahmer was a passenger on the bus when he saw Straughter and got off in time to approach him. [27] 

Errol Lindsey, age 19, met Dahmer outside of the adult bookstore on April 17, 1991. 

Tony Hughes, age 31, met Dahmer at the 219 Club on May 24, 1991. Hughes was hearing- and speech-impaired. He and Dahmer communicated by writing on a notepad. Hughes’s friends drove the two to Dahmer’s apartment. When Tony wanted to invite his friends up to the apartment with them, Dahmer made it clear that he wanted Tony alone. [28]

Konerak Sinthasomphone, age 14, had gone to the Grand Avenue Mall at around 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 26, 1991. According to Masters, Konerak, known as “Khun” or “Kolack” to friends, was an upbeat and friendly boy who had no enemies. His older brother, Somsack, last saw Konerak at 10:00 a.m. Sunday. In a strange twist, Somsack is the boy whom Dahmer was convicted of sexually assaulting in 1988. Konerak was going into the mall when Dahmer approached him. He offered Konerak $50 to model for him. Konerak hesitated but went back to Dahmer’s apartment. [29] 

After Konerak passed out, Dahmer drilled a hole in his head. He said that Konerak was asleep when he left the apartment at 1:30 a.m. Dahmer went to a liquor store and stopped at a bar. Between 1:30 and 2:00 a.m., several of Dahmer’s neighbors saw Konerak stumbling naked around the block. Three young women: Tina Spivey, Nicole Childress, and Sandra Smith tried to help him. The girls could tell that Konerak was intoxicated and tried communicating with him but Konerak could barely speak. They also observed that he was bleeding from his rectum. [30] 

Dahmer returned and walked up to the girls. He told them that he would take care of Konerak but Konerak fought Dahmer. The girls intervened and tried to stop him. One of them decided to call the police. [31] 

The 911 call is quoted in Dahmer Detective as follows:

“Caller: ‘Hi. Okay. I’m on 25th and State and there is this young man. He is butt naked…He has been beaten up. He is very bruised up. He can’t stand up. He is butt naked. He has no clothes on. He is really hurt. I got no coat on. I just seen him. He needs some help.’

911: ‘Where’s he at?’

Caller: ’25th and State. The corner of 25th and State.'” [32] 

Officers Joseph Gabrish and John Balcerzak responded shortly after 2:00 a.m. Dahmer told police that Konerak was his 19-year-old boyfriend, “John Hmung.” Dahmer explained that his boyfriend’s behavior got out of control when he drank. According to Masters, the officers ignored the three women as they tried to point out that Konerak was underage. The officers helped Dahmer get Konerak back to his apartment. They took note of a foul smell in Dahmer’s apartment but thought it was “excrement.” Dahmer later revealed that a victims’ body was on the floor in his bedroom at the time. [33] 

Fifteen minutes later, the officers called into the Milwaukee Police Department. The call was recorded and included in Dahmer Detective: “The intoxicated Asian male (laughter in background) was returned to his sober boyfriend (more laughter in background).” Shortly after that, one of the officers made the following comment when dispatched to another scene, “First, my partner is going to get deloused at the station.” [34] 

The mother and aunt of two of the young women who had tried to help Konerak made a follow-up call to Milwaukee Police. She wanted to know what happened to the boy. The officer who she talked to was one of the officers who responded. He told her that Konerak was an adult and that everything was resolved. [35] 

On May 30, 1991, Masters writes that Nicole Childress saw Konerak’s photo in the Milwaukee Sentinel. She contacted the FBI and was told to contact Milwaukee police. Childress called the police and told them about what happened. She told the police that she could identify the man with Konerak. She said that she saw him at the Grand Avenue Mall after the incident. The officer told her that the incident had been investigated and resolved. [36]

A close-up of a young boy with dark hair wearing glasses.
Konerak Sinthasomphone, age 14, almost escaped Dahmer. Police ignored witnesses who tried to tell them something was wrong. Dahmer managed to convince the officers that Konerak was his intoxicated 19-year-old boyfriend. They helped Dahmer bring Konerak back to his apartment where Dahmer murdered the boy. Photo: Screencap from A&E Biography, “Jeffrey Dahmer: The Monster Within (1996).

According to Investigation Discovery, both officers Balcerzak and Gabrish were fired for their actions in November 1992 but were reinstated in 1994. Gabrish has been a police officer in Grafton, Wisconsin since 1993. According to Wikipedia, Balcerzak is currently retired from the Milwaukee Police Department. 

On June 30, 1991, Matt Turner, age 20, met Dahmer at a bus station in Chicago. Turner went back to Milwaukee with Dahmer. He was never reported missing. [37]

Jeremiah Weinberger, age 23, met Dahmer at Carol’s Bar in Chicago on July 6, 1991. Masters writes that a friend of Weinberger gave police a full description of Dahmer as the last person with whom Weinberger was seen. He also helped create a composite sketch. [38]

According to Masters, Weinberger had a close relationship with his adoptive father, Aaron Weinberger. He always called home to let his father know where he was. Weinberger had plans of attending college to study art design. Weinberger’s friend, Ted Jones, went to Carol’s at 2:30 a.m. and saw Weinberger talking to a blonde man. He said that Weinberger asked Jones what he thought about him going to Milwaukee with the man for the weekend. Jones told Weinberger that should go because he had nothing better to do. [39] 

When Jones came back to talk to Weinberger, Dahmer moved to the side of the bar and sat in silence. At closing time, Jones said, “I’ll call you tomorrow to see if you want to go to a picnic this weekend. If there’s no answer, I’ll assume you went for the weekend.” [40]

Once back at Dahmer’s apartment, Dahmer drilled a hole through Weinberger’s skull after he passed out and injected boiling water into his brain. [41] 

Dahmer said, “He woke up at the end of the day, the next morning, and he was sort of groggy and everything. He talked, it was like he was dazed and I thought I would be able to keep him that way […] he was walking around, going to the bathroom, but I had to go to work on the second night, at the end of the second day, and he was still walking around so I gave him another dose of pills and another shot of boiling water in the same hole.” The next morning, Dahmer came home from work and found Weinberger dead. [42]

Oliver Lacy, age 24, met Dahmer on July 15, 1991. Rose Colon, Lacy’s long-time girlfriend and fiancée, reported him missing. [43] 

Joseph Bradehoft, age 25, met Dahmer at a bus stop near Marquette University on July 19, 1991. Bradehoft was separated from his wife and had a 2-year-old daughter.  [44] 

In the end, Jeffrey Dahmer was found guilty of 16 counts of murder. Everyone listened to the gruesome details of his crimes in shock and horror. The details included horrific acts such as dismemberment, preservation of body parts, necrophilia, cannibalism, and finally an attempt to create zombies. Who was Jeffrey Dahmer?


Works Cited:

[1] Masters, Brian. (1993). The Shrine of Jeffrey Dahmer. Hodder and Stoughton. Great Britain, p. 1-3.

[2] Masters, p. 4

[3] Kennedy, Patrick, Maharaj, Robyn. (2016). Dahmer Detective: The Interrogation and Investigation that Shocked the World. Poison Berry Press. Canada.

[4] Masters, p. 67

[5] Kennedy, Maharaj, p. 109-114

[6] Masters, p. 118-119

[7] Masters, p. 121

[8] Masters, p. 122

[9] Masters, p. 122

[10] Masters, p. 122-123

[11] Masters, p. 123

[12] Masters, p. 123

[13] Masters, p. 124

[14] Masters, p. 127

[15] Masters, p. 128

[16] Masters, p. 128

[17] (Masters, p. 129, 132)

[18] Masters, p. 135

[19] Masters, p. 137

[20] Masters, p. 141

[21] Masters, p. 145

[22] Masters,p. 146

[23] Masters, p. 148

[24] Masters, p. 148

[25] Masters, p. 150

[26] Masters, p.153

[27] Masters, p. 156

[28] Masters, p. 157

[29] Masters, p. 175-176

[30] Masters, p. 177-178

[31] Masters, p. 178-179

[32] Kennedy, Maharaj, p. 9

[33] Masters, p. 178

[34] Kennedy, Maharaj, p. 13

[35] Kennedy, Maharaj, p. 13-14

[36] Masters, p. 181

[37] Masters, p. 183

[38] Masters, p. 183

[39] Masters, p. 187

[40]( Masters, p. 188)

[41]( Masters, p. 188)

[42]( Masters, p. 188)

[43] (Masters, p. 183)

[44] (Masters, p. 184)

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Written by MD Bastek

Just a person who loves horror and writes about unusual things

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