No matter how hard he tried, Jeffrey Dahmer couldn’t suppress his murderous instincts. After having sex with his partner, he couldn’t allow them to leave – so he drugged and fatally strangled them before dismembering their bodies. Dahmer would dissolve some parts, preserve others, and sometimes eat the remainder. At times he had sex with the corpse before dismembering it.
Dahmer exercised his depravity in two locations: his grandmother’s home and apartment 213 at 924 North 25th Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Jeffrey’s neighbors had complained about the strange sounds and smells coming from Dahmer’s apartment but couldn’t begin to fathom the barbarism that took place in what authorities dubbed a ‘killing factory.’
Jeffrey Dahmer’s apartment was torn down at the request of the victims’ families
After Jeffrey’s discharge from the Army in 1981, he went to live with his father and stepmother. Dahmer was a heavy drinker who rebuffed his father’s efforts to wean him off the alcohol. In December 1981, Jeffrey’s father evicted him and sent him to live with his grandmother, the only relative to whom he displayed affection, in West Allis, Wisconsin.
At the time, Dahmer had only killed one person. Steven Hicks, at his family’s residence in Ohio. Dahmer resumed his killing in November 1987: he drugged and killed Steven Tuomi and transported his body to his grandmother’s residence. A week later, he dismembered the body and disposed of Tuomi’s chopped-up remains in the trash.
Dahmer kept the skull, which he used as a stimulus for masturbation. In September 1988, Jeffrey’s grandmother asked him to leave due to his drinking, his habit of bringing young men to the house at night, and the foul smells emanating from the garage and basement.
Jeffrey moved into apartment 213 at 924 North 25th Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Dahmer committed eleven murders at the location. Authorities could have stopped some of the murders had they listened to complaints from Dahmer’s neighbors, notably Glenda Cleveland.
Glenda alerted police to the strange noises and sounds coming from Jeffrey’s apartment, but no one bothered to investigate. Her black race and low socio-economic standing may have contributed to the dismissal of her complaints.
If authorities had acted on a report by Glenda that Jeffrey was harboring an injured 14-year-old boy in his apartment, they would have likely rescued Konarek Sinthasomphone before Dahmer murdered him. “This could have all been prevented,” Glenda told The Milwaukee Sentinel. “If they had listened that night, that little boy would still be alive and all the others wouldn’t be dead.”
After Dahmer’s arrest, the residents of Oxford Apartments swiftly moved out. Marquette University, a local higher learning institution, reported a steep enrolment decline. The university bought the property and, at the request of the victims’ families, demolished it in November 1992. The lot remains empty as the city has forbidden its owner, Ogden Homes, from constructing anything on it.
Milwaukee residents who interacted with Dahmer didn’t suspect him of murder
A common characteristic of serial murderers is they hide in plain sight. Scott Gunkel, an LGBTQ+ activist who worked at a gay bar Dahmer frequented, told TMJ4 that it’s unfortunate that people keep retelling Dahmer’s story. “It’s hard to get closure,” Gunkel said.
Gunkel said that Dahmer often arrived at the bar drunk. He described Dahmer as a loner who stared at people until he got their attention. Scott continued:
“I honestly don’t think anybody had a clue what he was capable of. Even as a couple of the victims, who were also regular customers, were suddenly nowhere to be found and not coming in anymore.”
Dahmer also frequented The Fish Factory in West Allis, Wisconsin. His grandmother’s residence at 2357 S 57th Street, West Allis, Wisconsin, still exists and, as of September 2022, is off the market.
Stephen Banach, The Fish Factory’s owner, described Jeffrey as soft-spoken and polite. “If you met him, you’d never think anything of it,” Banach said. Banach added that Jeffrey bought fish or aquarium supplies at the store.
A week before Dahmer was arrested, Banach said, he requested Banach for a fish tank delivery to his apartment. Banach declined the request, probably saving one of his employees’ lives. He explained:
“I had a young Asian gentleman who worked here at the time, as a part-time employee, and Dahmer pointed to him and said he’d like him to deliver it. I think a week later he got caught.”