First, Emily heads to Milwaukee, WI to tell the longest, most horrific story she’s ever told… the Milwaukee Monster, Jeffrey Dahmer. Then Rachel shares a tremendously interesting story of Ötzi, a glacier mummy from the Copper Age, who, thanks to extraordinary circumstances, has been preserved down to the present day.
Trigger Warning(s) – rape, substance abuse, mental illness, cannibalism, sexual assault, suicidal ideation, murder and dismemberment with graphic details, necrophilia, sexual assault of a child, stories involving unjust treatment of people of color
Story 1 – Jeffrey Dahmer
Let’s talk about one of the most notorious serial killers of all time. A man who defies the common background of your typical psychotic killer. Who SHOULD have been stopped half a dozen times before he was able to kill 17 people. A man who himself said… “I knew I was sick or evil, or both. And the only person to blame is me.”
A man named: Jeffrey Dahmer.
If you’ve never heard the name Jeffrey Dahmer, I’m not sure why you are listening to this podcast… but, also, buckle up buttercup because this is about to be a wild ride. Jeffrey Dahmer killed 17 men, raped several more, butchered his victims and even ate some of them. I’m going to do my best to share the details of this man’s horrific story – and focus on the victims – but hear me when I say there is a LOT of detail AND this man has pontificated about his crimes many times, so I’ll do my best to fit in as much as I can.
The oldest child to Lionel and Joyce Dahmer, although Jeffrey reports no abuse, did grow up in a strange household – and a household that could probably be classified as cold. He had a rocky relationship with his mother, his father was pretty much MIA, and there are some reports that he was molested by his neighbor (both he and his father deny this though).
Let’s start where it all began – Jeffrey Dahmer birth on May 21, 1960. Joyce struggled with mental illness her entire life and when she was pregnant it hit her pretty hard. One documentary I watched said that she took 27 pills a day while she was pregnant. I’m not sure what all 27 were, but it included antidepressants, growth hormones, progesterone, and more.
And then her anxiety, which materialized as hypochondria, made her very ‘careful’ about who she let handle the baby. She was very concerned with germs. To the point that even the grandparents didn’t get to hold little Jeffrey – and Lionel later reported that even Joyce barely touched him unless she was posing for a picture or changing his diaper. And like I said, Lionel was outtie 5000 most of the time. He was studying to become a chemist and was off at Marquette University a lot of the time. Plus it was the 1960s.
So, I did do some research on what happens when a baby doesn’t get held enough, and it is true that babies develop a close attachment bond with their main caregiver (usually their parents) within the first months of life. Abd if they are in a situation where they do not receive normal love and care, they cannot develop this close bond. This may result in a condition called attachment disorder. It usually happens to babies and children who have been neglected or abused, or who are in care or separated from their parents for some reason.
The effect of not having this bond can cause problems with behavior and in dealing with emotions and new situations. And it is true that the effects can carry on right through childhood and into adult life. They might have problems with relationships, social interactions, mental and physical health, behavior, intellectual development, and substance abuse. BUT, even if this is true of Jeffrey’s childhood – it’s not an excuse to murder people. And I don’t know much about how Lionel was with Jeffrey Dahmer but I do know that in one documentary they said something like “when Jeffrey’s younger brother was born he stopped getting bedtime stories from his mom and that made him upset.” Which could have been supposition from that detective, or could have been true, I’m not sure.
Now, there are some reports about a double hernia surgery that Jeffrey Dahmer underwent when he was four that was apparently very traumatizing. One podcast that I listened to was saying that they didn’t tell him anything about what was going on – they just took him to the hospital and all of a sudden he was taken away from his family and poked and prodded.
After that… he kind of withdrew. He got quiet and seemed emotionally distant. LUCKILY (ha, ha) he finally bonded with his father around this time because he told his dad – the chemist – that he was very interested in what would happen if he put some chicken bones in acid and the scientist leaped for joy! He said “let’s find out!” and the two did this experiment together.
Between the ages of ten and fifteen, he went HAM on collecting roadkill and dissolving the animals in acid. He had a BUCKET full of bones that he carried around and the family just referred to it as his fiddlesticks. FIDDLESTICKS. This is way to playful of a term for a bucket of bones. Sorry. Especially because at one point he cut open a beagle that was already dead – and because he wanted to do something shocking with it, he stuck it up on a pole in the neighbors woods.
He also discovered alcohol and started drinking heavily around the age of 12. This provided some social lubrication and he became the class clown. His classmates referred to any outrageous prank as “doing a Dahmer.” He loved sneaking into class photos that he shouldn’t be part of for the yearbook – he was in the National Honor Society photo, right smack in the middle of the group, but… he wasn’t in the NHS. So the yearbook people just blacked out Jeffrey’s face in the photo! Ha!
But, even the class-clown “doing a Dahmer” got to be too much… he became more and more of a different person. He started doing things that were… unsettling… One of his classmates said that he would just start shrieking or twist himself up in a gross way and then run with a limp. And when she asked him why he did that he would say “I just like to shake people up.” Even his posture changed, becoming super stiff all the time.
His alcoholism was pretty horrible – he had beer in his locker, in his car. Teachers did nothing about it. He would often have a cup of scotch with him in the middle of class. As a high schooler. And when classmates asked about it he would say “it’s my medicine.” It just seemed like there was a collective sense of blinders going up because people didn’t want to deal with it or address it. There’s strike one of the moments in Jeffrey Dahmer life where intervention might have changed the course of what happened in the future.
Because although he might have seemed sort of normal (other than his kind of weird awkwardness)… he was anything but normal. By the age of 15 or 16 he was starting to experience some dark desires and sexual fantasies. Fantasies of control and power.
So, what did he do as a 15-year-old? Clumsy, fumbling, uncertain about how to approach someone he was attracted to – a father that was largely unavailable so he didn’t have someone to ask. No friends to talk to about this. And on top of that, he was gay – so he knew he couldn’t ask people in reality anyway.
So, he sought out opportunities to watch male joggers that would jog by. But, Jeffrey’s fantasies weren’t just about sex, they were about control, as I said before – he wanted these men to be with him and not able to leave. He wanted to have them for themselves. But he didn’t have the skills yet to introduce himself, so he started just waiting in the woods – with a bat – ready to attack them. He never attacked a jogger, but he came close. There was one man in particular that ran the same route at the same time every day – and Jeff decided he was going to club him, rape him and kill him. He literally was waiting in the woods for the guy to jog by and that happened to be the day that that man didn’t participate. If only that man knew how lucky he was.
Then, in 1978, after years of arguments and unhappiness, Dahmer’s parents divorced bitterly. Because Dahmer was legally an adult, both the court and the parents showed great concern for David but little for Jeffrey Dahmer. In fact Joyce Dahmer and David Dahmer moved out, then his father moved on quickly and found a new partner named Shari Jordan and HE moved out. And meanwhile, the eighteen-year-old Jeffrey Dahmer was alone with no money and a broken fridge that had spoiled milk in it.
Shortly after highschool graduation in 1978, unbeknownst to anyone, Jeffrey Dahmer took his whole creeping in the woods, beagles on stakes, shaking people up thing to the next level and committed his first murder.
It was a June night in 1978 when teenager Steven Hicks didn’t come home. His parents figured he had simply stayed out late. But as the days passed with no sign of the young man, his family grew increasingly worried.
He never came home.
What happened to Steven wouldn’t be discovered for years, but here’s what we know. Jeffrey Dahmer was coming back from the shopping mall when he saw Steven hitchhiking. Steven was shirtless and this was extremely arousing to Jeffrey, so he pulled over and offered to give him a ride and a “good time”. They went back to the Dahmer house and drank and smoked weed, but then the night came to a close and Steven got up to leave. But Dahmer didn’t want Steven to leave.
Now, as Steven’s mother said years later – Steven had a “smile that could keep him out of trouble most of the time,” but he had never met a “monster” like Dahmer before.
And so, as Steven got up to leave, Jeffrey Dahmer grabbed a 10-lb barbell and hit Steven in the head, knocking him out. Then he strangled him, killing Steven. And then last but not least – as an 18 year old boy, Jeffrey cut up the body of his first victim. But, because it was unplanned and it happened in his parents’ home, Dahmer panicked. First he buried Steven in their backyard… but then he felt nervous about this so he dug up the body and placed the pieces in green garbage bags and put those in the back of his car to dispose of them elsewhere.
He was so nervous that he was driving erratically, and he got pulled over. The cop slowly walked up to the window and shined his flashlight into the car. He asked what was going on and why he was out so late. Dahmer was shockingly calm. He had a story right away and told the cop that he was just upset because his parents had gotten divorced and he couldn’t sleep so he decided to get up and take the trash to the dump.
The police officer literally looked at the bags in the back and let him go with a ticket. Strike two for a moment when Jeffrey Dahmer could have been stopped – having only taken one life instead of 17. But his shiny white skin probably helped him out and he took the body home – where he smashed the bones and spread them in the woods at his parent’s house.
Between this first kill and his second – there were NINE years. Or so we think. If there were additional kills, Jeffrey Dahmer took those names with him to his grave. But, just because he wasn’t killing, doesn’t mean that he wasn’t wreaking havoc in people’s lives.
Since Dahmer was just sitting around at home drinking, Lionel forced him to enroll at Ohio State University. But he failed out quickly and came back home. Then they took him to get psychiatric care, tried to have him institutionalized because of his alcoholism… nothing. No one seemed to put much real effort into helping Dahmer. So, they shipped him off to the military. Army to be exact.
While he was in the military he mostly drank a lot – but two men also came forward, years later, to allege that they were raped by Dahmer during that time. The first was Preston Davis, Jeffrey’s bunkmate. Preston claimed that he was drugged and raped by Dahmer. And after that he left the military. Preston’s life was ruined – he unraveled. He got a DWI, had a rocky marriage that ended in divorce, got estranged from his son, and continued abusing substances and alcohol.
Meanwhile, Billy Joe Capshaw moved in to take Preston’s place. Billy now claims that Dahmer drugged him and tied him up on a bunk bed, naked. Dahmer would hold him, molest him, rape him and torture him (he didn’t get more specific than that). According to Billy, this went on for months – he never told anyone at the time because he was 17 and ashamed. This isn’t uncommon.
Now, I will say that Dahmer – who was known for boldly sharing exactly what he did in detail – never claimed that he committed these rapes. Some may think, why would he share that he ATE people, but not that he raped these men? Other people that were interviewed said that they weren’t surprised that he didn’t share this information… he liked to control the narrative and this wasn’t as juicy of a detail.
I will say that German police also investigated whether Dahmer was responsible for several unsolved murders there, but Dahmer denied any involvement in those crimes as well.
Eventually, he was discharged from the army for excessive drinking. Once again, his father and stepmother tried to get him help – but they would drop him off at the counseling office and he’d just go out the back door and not actually go to counseling. This is when they decided maybe sending Jeffrey Dahmer to live with his Grandma Catherine would be a good idea.
Right off the bat – boom – he exposed himself to a group of women and children while he was out and about one day and got himself arrested. Luckily, he was the luckiest son of a bitch of all time because for the umpteenth time, he was “caught” but let off with little more than a slap on the wrist. Because he expressed remorse the judge only gave him a $50 fine.
With the NEVER watchful eye of the justice system and an even less watchful eye of his grandmother – he was now able to move about the Milwaukee area with impunity. He was an adult, grandma went to bed early, he could do his thang. And his THANG was going to bathhouses, drugging men and raping them as they lay unconscious. Although he was arrested twice for incidents in 1982 and 1986, Dahmer only ever faced probation and was never charged for the rapes.
According to one documentary that I watched, he was still trying to fight his urges at this time. He didn’t want to kill but he was desperate for a man that would lay beside him and not move or make a peep. Apparently, he scanned obituaries and went to funerals to see if he thought the person was attractive. He attempted to dig up those people from their graves, but he found that the soil was too hard and he couldn’t accomplish this task – so he thought… what’s the next best thing? Maybe a mannequin?
So he went to a department store and hid in a bathroom until it closed, then he shuffled out with a damn mannequin that he thought was hot and would caress it and lay with it in bed. This worked for a while, but when Grandma found it, she clutched her pearls and figured out what he was doing with it and threw it right away.
After this, it seemed the damn broke.
In September 1987, Dahmer met Steven Tuomi, who was around 24 or 25, in a bar in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Dahmer flirted with Tuomi and managed to convince him to come back to his hotel room at the Ambassador Hotel. Of course, Dahmer was fully planning on drugging and raping him. But, that was his only intention. Instead, allegedly, Dahmer woke up and was surprised to find Tuomi dead. Steven was bruised to hell and his chest was crushed in. Dahmer’s fists were bruised as well. As Dahmer said, “Apparently, I had beaten him to death with my fists.” Whaaaaaat.
Of course, now he was in a hotel with a dead body and that’s not going to work – so he went out and he bought a super large suitcase and brought it back to the hotel. He then placed Tuomi’s body into the suitcase – I don’t really want to know how he did that – and took the body back to his grandmother’s house,
There he severed the head, arms, and legs from the torso, then used the knowledge that he learned from his dad and filleted the bones from the body before cutting the flesh into pieces small enough to handle. He then placed the flesh inside plastic garbage bags. He wrapped the bones inside a sheet and pounded them into splinters with a sledgehammer. The entire dismemberment process took Dahmer approximately two hours to complete, and he disposed of all of Tuomi’s remains—excluding the severed head—in the trash.
The head had another special purpose for Dahmer. For two weeks following Tuomi’s murder, Dahmer kept it wrapped in a blanket. Then he boiled the head in a mixture of Soilex (industrial detergent) and bleach in an effort to retain the skull, which he then used as a stimulus for masturbation. Eventually, the skull was rendered too brittle by this bleaching process, so Dahmer pulverized and disposed of it.
From there, the number of Dahmer’s victims rapidly escalated. And although the first two victims were closish to his age, his third victim, James Doxtator, was just 14 when he crossed Dahmer’s path on January 16, 1988.
As Dahmer later told detectives, he lured the child to the basement of his grandmother’s house in West Allis, Wisconsin, by promising him $50 to pose for nude photos. Instead Dahmer drugged him, raped him, strangled him, and dismembered his body. This would be the first time Dahmer used acid to melt a victim’s flesh. As in his previous two murders, Dahmer pulverized Doxater’s bones before scattering them.
Dahmer met his next victim, 22-year-old Richard Guerrero, outside of a Milwaukee bar.
Guerrero was last seen leaving his family’s North Side home for a friend’s house in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 24, 1988 with $3 in his pocket and no wallet. He never made it to the friend’s house, and he never came back.
He was devoted to his family and often took his mother to shop and run errands. Four months after their son disappeared, the Guerrero’s hired a private investigator to search for him. The investigator called off the search when he ran into nothing but dead ends.
Sadly, what had happened was that Dahmer met him, offered him $50 to return with him to his grandmother’s home, and Richard went with him because he needed the money. Of course, then Dahmer drugged and strangled him. He then had another first – he had sex with Guerrero’s corpse and dismembered his body. Richard is another of the bodies that was never found.
Around this time, Ronald Flowers paths crossed with Dahmer’s, and he survived a scarring experience. He had come to Milwaukee to buy a waterbed from one of his friends, but the events turned out to be so that by the end of the night, he was left alone in the parking lot with a car that wouldn’t start. His friends had left by then and Flowers couldn’t call anyone for help. That’s when Dahmer showed up as a good Samaritan. He offered Flowers to come to his grandmother’s house from where they could pick up another car, return to the parking and jump-start his car. With no other option in sight, Flowers agreed to it.
On reaching the house, Dahmer insisted Flowers have a cup of coffee. After much deliberation, Flowers found it best to have a coffee and then leave. He didn’t know that Dahmer had already spiked his coffee and soon enough, Flowers was rendered unconscious. According to the Netflix show – his grandma interrupted him and forced Jeff to take Ronald to the hospital.
Ronald woke up in County General Hospital, in Milwaukee, the next day, with bruises all over his body. He was also missing money and a bracelet. When he realized what had happened, Flowers immediately went to the police station in West Allis and reported Dahmer for drugging him. He even led the cops to his home, but nothing happened after that. The cops said that they found nothing that would suggest Dahmer had done what Flowers was saying he had, and in the end, it was his word against Dahmer’s. Strike however many in the number of times that Dahmer could have been stopped.
The fifth of Dahmer’s victims was 24-year-old aspiring model Anthony Sears. Anthony was bisexual, had a girlfriend and worked at the Bakers Square restaurant in Milwaukee. Sears met Dahmer on the evening of March 25, 1989 at the Milwaukee gay club “La Cage”. Later that night, when the bar closed, Sears’ friend Jeffrey Connor drove him, Dahmer and Bob Keel, another friend of his, back to his grandmother’s house. Before Connor let Anthony and Dahmer go, he reminded Sears that he was going to spend time with his family on Easter and asked him to call him in case he needed a ride back home. He had since never been seen again.
Because Dahmer brought Sears inside his grandmother’s house, where they had sex and Dahmer gave him a drink that put him to sleep. Once Sears fell asleep, Dahmer killed and dismembered his body, mummifying his head and penis, while the rest of the body was disposed of. Why the penis? Well, he was especially attracted to Anthony and wanted to keep it to use later…. Oh, and gross as ever – Dahmer eventually boiled Anthony’s face by removing the skin and kept his skull as a souvenir. According to Dahmer, the body parts of Sears were in a black cabinet at Grandma’s house for a YEAR which of course created a stench in the house.
And the reason that he left the body in the cabinet and didn’t dispose of it was because in May 1989, Dahmer was sentenced to a year in prison for sexually assaulting 13-year-old Keison Sinthasomphone in September 1988.
So after his little slap on the wrist, one-year jail stint for raping a 13 year old… Jeffrey moved back to Grandma’s but Lionel came over to her house to address the smell. Lionel was naive or didn’t want to admit what he felt deep down in his gut, so he assumed it was roadkill causing the smell. And basically just said, “Jeff, your grandma just can’t take this sort of thing. You need to move out.”
So Dahmer moved into an apartment at 924 North 25th Street in Milwaukee. Now, this was a rough part of town… a lot of crime and poverty, but he liked it because he was ‘off the radar.’
And soon after that he met a 32-year-old sex worker named Raymond Smith. Dahmer offered Smith $50 to come home with him.
At Dahmer’s apartment, he gave Smith a drink laced with seven sleeping pills and manually strangled him. The following day, Dahmer purchased a Polaroid camera with which he took several pictures of Smith’s body in suggestive positions before dismembering him in the bathroom. He boiled the legs, arms, and pelvis in a steel kettle with Soilex, which allowed him to then rinse the bones in his sink; he dissolved the remainder of Smith’s skeleton—excluding the skull—in a container filled with acid. Dahmer later spray-painted Smith’s skull, which he placed alongside the skull of Anthony Sears upon a black towel inside a metal filing cabinet.
Though Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims had been mostly strangers, the killer was actually acquainted with his seventh victim, 27-year-old Edward Smith. They’d apparently been seen together at clubs before, and at Dahmer’s trial, Smith’s brother alleged that Smith had “tried to be Jeffrey Dahmer’s friend.”
Instead, Jeffrey Dahmer killed him and stashed some of his body parts in his freezer until they started to degrade and fall apart.
In September of 1990, Dahmer took the lives of two more victims. First, 22-year-old Ernest Miller. Ernest was handsome, well-built, and was a talented dancer. He met Dahmer in a small business district in Milwaukee and accepted an invitation back to his flat at the Oxford Apartments on North 25th street by the temptation of earning $50 to pose nude for the camera. Unlike most of Dahmer’s victims, who were drugged and strangled to death, Miller’s throat was cut – probably because Dahmer had run out of sleeping pills and he was worried he wouldn’t be able to overpower the athletic man.
Unfortunately, this is when Dahmer started to branch out even more and… began experimenting with eating his victims. He ate Ernest’s heart and arm muscle and claimed it was “a way of making him feel that [his victims] were a part of him.”
Three weeks later, Dahmer met 22-year-old David Thomas and lured him back to his apartment. His family had last heard from him the previous month. He didn’t have a permanent address at the time of his disappearance, but he had lived off and on with a girlfriend for years. Thomas had, of course, encountered Dahmer, who returned to his original MO and drugged and strangled him.
He left behind a three-year-old daughter whom he had visited regularly. David was on probation for retail theft at the time he vanished. His ex-girlfriend reported him missing at the suggestion of his probation officer. His body was never found.
After a brief pause in murdering, a whole 4 months. Dahmer observed a 17-year-old named Curtis Straughter standing at a bus stop near Marquette University in February 1991.
According to Dahmer, he lured Straughter into his apartment with an offer of money for posing for nude photos, with the added incentive of sexual intercourse. Dahmer drugged and strangled Straughter with a leather strap, then dismembered him, with Dahmer retaining the youth’s skull, hands, and genitals and photographing each stage of the dismemberment process.
I know this is probably getting to be exhausting – and the shocking part of it all is that we’re only on victim 10 of 17. But, I’m going to keep going and doing my best to talk about each and every victim. I read a lot of articles that would group some of the men together or characterize them as one big group – but I don’t think that’s fair to them. So, we forge on.
The eleventh victim of Dahmer was 19-year-old Errol Lindsey, who suffered one of the most agonizing deaths, as he was kept alive for a gruesome experiment. What Dahmer called “his drilling technique.” Essentially, after luring Lindsey back to his apartment, Dahmer drugged him — and then drilled a hole in his head and poured hydrochloric acid into it.
According to Dahmer, Lindsey awoke after this practice, and said “I have a headache… what time is it…” This really bummed him out because he was hoping that what would happen would be that Errol would still be alive but would be in a permanent “zombie-like “state. So, reluctantly, Dahmer sedated him again and then strangled Errol to death. Then Dahmer flayed Lindsey’s body and retained the skin for several weeks.
Though the next two victims of Jeffrey Dahmer were both killed in the month of May 1991, they have completely different stories from each other.
Dahmer met the first victim, 31-year-old Anthony Hughes, at a Milwaukee gay bar. Tony was deaf and Jeff wrote him on a piece of paper his proposal to pose for a photo for $50. Hughes agreed. At Jeff’s house, after Tony drank Jeff’s prepared drink, he fell asleep. Dahmer did not want to kill him and again set the experiment “to create zombies”. He made a hole in Tony’s skull, filled it with acid, and after a while, Tony died.
Not long afterward, Dahmer met 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone, a Laotian immigrant, to his apartment after meeting him at the mall. Sinthasomphone had been living in the states since 1979 when his family left the Nonkai refugee resettlement camp in Thailand to seek out a better life in Milwaukee. Which is crushing – and maybe even worse, Konerak was the younger brother of the boy he’d assaulted back in 1988.
He escaped, making it to the corner of a nearby street where two Black women, Sandra Smith and Nicole Childress, comforted him. The boy could barely talk or stand so the women did what many of us were taught to do in these situations: call the police. As the women waited with the boy, it was Dahmer who arrived at the scene first, minutes before the cops did. Calm and polite, the white man told the lies he needed to—that Sinthasomphone was a friend with a drinking habit, that there was nothing to see here— but the Black women were adamant, imploring the officers to take note of the boy’s state and the blood coming from his rectum.
The women were threatened with arrest. Dahmer and a stumbling Sinthasomphone were escorted back to the man’s apartment deemed by the officers to have shown no signs of a struggle. And if you remember… there was literally a dead body in the next room.
If the police had checked around Dahmer’s house or maybe his ID, they would have learned that he was on probation for child molestation… molestation of this boy’s older brother. But the cops told themselves that this was merely a lover’s quarrel and that Sinthasomphone’s silence was simply a sign that he could not speak English. After having been returned to Dahmer, the boy died less than an hour later and Dahmer dismembered him.
Dahmer’s 14th victim was 20-year-old Matthew Turner, a Chicago man that lived on the north side of the city and worked at a local pizza restaurant, where he bussed tables. He loved to chat with the customers and friends would later remember him as a warm, bubbly soul. He lip-synced at a bar, under the performer name of Donald Montrell and he loved to “dress up and have his picture taken”, according to a friend. No doubt that’s exactly how Dahmer lured him back to the apartment.
They met at a Gay Pride parade, Dahmer offered him money to come back with him, Matt accepted and rode back to Milwaukee with him on a Greyhound bus. He died just like many others had. After Dahmer convinced Turner to come back to his apartment, he drugged, strangled, and dismembered him. Dahmer then preserved some of Turner’s body parts in his freezer.
Around this time neighbors had long been telling the landlord about the awful smell emanating from the apartment. But, Dahmer made loads of excuses for the smell, first it was that his fish died, then it was spoiled meat in his freezer. Eventually, the landlord told Dahmer he was going to be evicted. But, the eviction didn’t come soon enough…
In July 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer butchered three men — and attempted to murder a fourth. In a two-week span, he killed 23-year-old Jeremiah Weinberger, 24-year-old Oliver Lacy, and 25-year-old Joseph Bradehoft.
Jeremiah was of Jewish-Puerto Rican descent and very handsome They met at “Carols Speakeasy Bar”, located on Chicago’s near north side, in Oldtown. Despite reservations, Weinberger was lured by Dahmer to his Milwaukee apartment. According to one source I read, they actually spent a couple of days together and Jeremiah was genuinely interested in Dahmer. But, Dahmer eventually got bored and drugged Weinberger’s drink.
Once unconscious, Dahmer conducted experiments on Weinberger, by drilling a hole in his head, and injecting acid and boiling water into the frontal lobe of his brain, in an attempt to create a “sex zombie”. Weinberger regained consciousness but was groggy. Dahmer then drugged him again. Weinberger struggled for life for a day and a half before slipping into a coma. When his experiment failed, Dahmer strangled him. He severed Weinberger’s head and placed it in his freezer. Dahmer dismembered Weinberger’s body with a chainsaw and stored his torso in a 57 gallon blue drum which was filled with acid.
Oliver Lacy was a bodybuilder who Dahmer enticed to his apartment on the promise of money for posing for photographs. Lacy was drugged and strangled with a leather strap before being decapitated, with his head and heart being placed in the refrigerator. His skeleton was retained to adorn one side of the private shrine of skulls and skeletons Dahmer was in the process of creating.
Finally, murder victim #17 was Joseph Bradehoft. Bradehoft was originally from Illinois, but he came to Milwaukee to visit his brother and to seek work to support his family. He was married, but had separated from his wife, and had three children.
He met Dahmer at a bus-stop on the nineteenth of July, 1991. The killer had recently been fired from his job at a chocolate factory and wasn’t sleeping. He had even taken to watching “Exorcist III” on loop. It seemed like he was in an unstoppable downward spiral.
And there stood Joseph Bradehoft at the bus-stop, minding his own business, with a six-pack under one arm. Dahmer invited him back to his place, and offered him fifty dollars to seal the deal. (At the time, Dahmer was also mysteriously almost broke.) Mr. Bradehoft accepted and went back with him, where he was later slipped a drugged drink.
But on July 22, 1991, just days after killing Bradehoft, Jeffrey Dahmer’s luck ran out at last.
He lured 32-year-old Tracy Edwards to his apartment by offering to pay him for nude photos, while inside. Dahmer said he wanted to take S&M photos and put a handcuff on one of the Edward’s wrists. When he tried to close the second cuff, Edwards said no thanks and forced Edwards into the bedroom with a butcher knife.
During the struggle, Edwards was able to get free and escape out into the streets where he flagged down a police car. When the police arrived at Dahmer’s apartment, Edwards alerted them to the knife that was in the bedroom.
Upon entering the bedroom, the officers found the pictures of dead bodies and dismembered limbs that allowed them to finally place Dahmer under arrest. The photos were said to be so revolting that even highly experienced police officers felt faint when viewing them.
Further investigation of the home led them to find a severed head in the refrigerator, three more severed heads throughout the apartment, multiple photographs of the victims, and more human remains in his refrigerator. A total of seven skulls were found in his apartment as well as a human heart in the freezer. An altar was also constructed with candles and human skulls in his closet.
When he was taken into custody, Dahmer began his confession, giving police all the gruesome details of his crimes. He reveled in telling them the stories in fact. His confession was 160 pages and although he knew every single detail about what he did to each and ever man… he couldn’t remember their names.
When Dahmer went on trial on January 30, 1992, he faced 15 murder charges, pleading insanity as his defense, due to his disturbing impulses. The evidence against him was overwhelming and, after the two-week trial, he was declared guilty on 15 counts of murder.
He was sentenced to 957 years in prison, on 15 life terms; he later confessed to the killing of his first victim, Stephen Hicks, and received an extra life sentence. Dahmer told the jury that he did not wish for any sort of freedom. He believed that he deserved the death penalty.
As Dahmer said in an interview after he was sentenced… “It’s hard for me to believe that a human being could have done what I’ve done, but I know that I did it,” Dahmer said.
AND, he literally said he would do it again. He did “find God” in prison, but even after that he said that if he got out he would probably do it again, so it was good that he wasn’t going to get out.
There were two attempts on his life: one involved a knife attack requiring stitches. The second attempt was more successful – on November 28, 1994, Dahmer was bludgeoned to death by an inmate as they cleaned one of the prison showers, unshackled and unattended. Christopher Scarver, himself incarcerated for murder, brought a barbell with him and used it to beat Dahmer’s head with it. Dahmer was taken to hospital but died of severe head trauma: he was 34 years old.
Christopher Scarver later told police he’d kept press clippings detailing Dahmer’s killing spree and was ‘disgusted.’
Interestingly enough, Joyce Dahmer came out of the woodwork after Dahmer’s death and wanted to have scientists study his brain to see if there was something they could identify as wrong with him – but Lionel didn’t want that, wanted Jeff to be cremated. They went to trial and Lionel won.
Obviously, to this day Jeffrey Dahmer remains one of the most notorious serial killers in modern history; not just for the crimes that he committed, but also for the timid manner and matter-of-fact confessions surrounding those crimes. Since he was so matter-of-fact about his confession and couldn’t remember the names of his victims at all… I’ll end on that note. A reminder of the names of the men he murdered:
These are their names: Steven Hicks, Steven Tuomi, James Doxtator, Richard Guerrero, Anthony Lee Sears, Edward Warren Smith, Raymond Smith, Ernest Miller, David Thomas, Curtis Straughter, Errol Lindsey, Anthony Hughes, Konerak Sinthasomphone, Matt Turner, Jeremiah Weinberger, Oliver Lacy, Joseph Bradehoft.
Story 2 – Ötzi, the Stone Age Mummy Murder
’m going to begin our story with the less prehistoric, September 1991. Yes, I know, it’s too recent, but so is the end of Dahmer and you know what? We’re back now so stop complaining. There are a couple of hikers engaging in our nightmare activity – exercising while cold, in the beautiful Italian alps. In my mind, they are just freezing their balls off, minding their own business, when suddenly, they do a 180-degree turn and end up engaging in one of our favorite topics – they come across a dead body.
Obviously, they call the authorities, thinking at first that it’s an unfortunate hiker, lost to the elements. But as the rescue team soon realizes, it’s not just an everyday hiker. It’s a mother-fucking mummy. And now, I’m going to tell you the story of Ötzi – the Iceman discovered in the Ötztal Alps. I’d like to do a real quick shoutout to Charlie for recommending this story, which I’d never heard of before, and acknowledge my primary source: a documentary called “Ötzi the Iceman,” from National Geographic and available on Youtube.
Okay, so back to the story. It’s 1991, and scientists are stoked to have found this artifact. Ötzi’s body has been perfectly preserved, and it turns out that his is the oldest in-tact human body ever found. Carbon dating confirms that Ötzi died 5,300 years ago. For those of you who need that dropped into historical context like I did, that’s the stone age. Europe wasn’t the Europe we think of today. Even old-school Europe in the 1600s when we think about the monarchy.
But 5,300 years ago, there weren’t countries, there weren’t kings – the documentary makes sure to point out that the wheel wasn’t even invented yet. Otzi is older than the pyramids and Stonehenge. People lived in small settlements, starting to grow crops. They may have been raising animals. But other people are living as nomads, hunting wild game to survive. The population started to increase, which means more people and fewer resources, so of course, people started fighting over those resources. The biggest clash was between hunters and farmers. It is a real-life Settlers of Catan.
So, after scientists and researchers finish picking their jaws up off the ground from being shocked and amazed, they started doing what all good Morbid Curious do – wondering why this guy was alone on the mountain and wanting to know how he died.
The first theory is that maybe he just got lost in the mountains and succumbed to the elements. But here’s the thing: Ötzi’s body wasn’t the only thing that was well-preserved – his gear was well-preserved as well. He was found wearing one shoe, which was made of grass, animal skin, and cord. Also, he had a backpack with a wooden frame and a leather pouch that he probably tied like a fanny pack. He had trunks of tree fungus with him, supposedly because they were thought to have medicinal powers, so it was his idea of a first-aid kit, and maple leaves to become tinder to start a fire.
Finally, he had weapons with him: A bow and arrow, made of wood and arrowheads. There were feathers attached to it for stabilization. But the bows and arrows weren’t found ready to use. They were just sticks – no arrowheads attached to them. He wasn’t ready for battle.
He also had an axe that was made out of copper, so he wasn’t completely unarmed. It is a huge discovery for history nerds, because he would have been able to smelt copper – they didn’t think people knew how to do that for a hot minute after Ötzi, but his axe shows that his people could heat copper to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit 1000 years before historians previously thought, and meant that they weren’t ONLY using stone tools in the stone age. And this axe would have been a pretty big deal, but we’ll come back to that.
Essentially, all of this gear showed that Ötzi was prepared for his journey in the mountains, and he was probably pretty experienced, maybe even a hunter. So, it was seeming less and less likely that he would have been done in by the elements.
Next, scientists decide to x-ray Ötzi, thinking maybe that would give them a little more insight into his life and death. They found some broken bones, which wouldn’t have led to him dying, but in my non-expert opinion maybe could have led to him slowing down and eventually freezing to death, but then, in 2001, a scientist named Paul Gossler found something odd-looking in the x-rays. He commissioned a CT scan and found a stone arrowhead lodged in Ötzi’s back.
They were able to determine that the arrow went through his scapula AKA his shoulder blade. It would have penetrated an artery, leading to the probable cause of death of blood loss.
That’s right guys, we’ve got a prehistoric murder. But whodunnit? And why? Scientists had to figure out the rest of this mystery.
And the only way to do that? Obviously, we’ve got to thaw out this 5300-year-old body.
The smells. I can’t.
But two-dozen researchers could, so they thawed out the mummy, prepared their tools, and got ready to solve a murder. They carefully moved Ötzi’’s body to a special box so they wouldn’t accidentally move his limbs – he had been found face down on a rock, so one of his arms was sort of in a dab position.
Are kids still dabbing? I don’t think so, but you get it.
Now, I cannot stress enough the amount of psychological displeasure that I put myself doing this story for you guys – this is absolutely an Emily story because I am squeamish, but here we are. I watched these procedures, and they. Were. Disgusting. When Ötzi was all thawed out, the researchers used their surgical tools to start poking and prodding this ancient corpse. They were looking under his mummified tongue, you see all his teeth – it was awful. Anywho, eventually, they carefully flip him over to see if they can get a better look at the arrowhead lodged in his shoulder. And they use an endoscope, and we get to see it. So gross.
There is a lot of muscle or tissue or some other shit that’s found inside the body – honestly, you guys are lucky you’re getting this much from me in terms of description – that is blocking their way to the arrowhead. They get less than an inch from it, but they just can’t quite see it. And Ötzi is government property, so they can’t do a true autopsy or an incision. They have to be careful not to alter his body significantly.
So that group decides it’s a moot point to keep going, and the next group of researchers takes a stab at him – pun intended. I should mention, the researchers have only given themselves a 9-hour window to keep Ötzi’s body thawed – after 9 hours they have to re-freeze him to avoid permanent damage. This team finds that Ötzi has skull fractures. They carefully remove some of his brain matter (gag), which tests positively for blood. This supports the theory that Ötzi suffered a blow to the head before he died, which led to his brain bleed. He may have either been hit in the head by his killer at close range, or he could have fallen down after he got hit by the arrow and hit his head on a rock.
Now, before we talk more about the gross stuff, I want to talk a little more about Otzi. Ötzi was about 5’2. He had a lot of muscle in his legs, so he hiked a lot. His hands were soft, so he probably wasn’t a farmer but could have been a hunter or a shepherd. He died in his 40s. He had over 50 tattoos, the significance of which are still unknown. Ötzi may have been important because that copper axe was a big fucking deal. There were stone carvings found in a cave below where the body was found, which prominently featured the axe. It was likely extraordinarily meaningful to these people.
One theory is that Ötzi may have been on the run and he may have died in a conflict with another group of settlers or hunters. They found hornbeam pollen and conifer in his intestines, which grow on two different sections of the mountain. This indicated that he was moving up and down the mountain. He went up the mountain, back down again, and then was on his way back up. The theory is that his life was in danger, so he had to continue moving.
Researchers also discovered a deep cut across his right palm, possibly indicating hand-to-hand combat, being cut by a knife, which supports the theory about Otzi’s killer hitting him in the head. But here’s the thing – if it was hand-to-hand combat, someone probably would have stolen that sweet-ass axe. So the theory that he died by an arrow shot from farther away makes more sense. EXCEPT… there is no shaft in the arrow. It’s just the arrowhead. Someone would have had to walk up to him to pull out the rest of the arrow before leaving Ötzi dead in the mountains. And they still didn’t take the axe.
So next come the real heroes of this disgusting research – the stomach team who wants to look at the food. But first, they had to find his stomach.
Ötzi’s body was found in an alpine glacier, which typically moves about 100 feet per year. Most of the debris eventually gets to the bottom, where the ice may melt slightly. The sun and the wind dried out his body. Rocks on either side of him formed a trench, which was then filled in with about 10 feet of snow and ice. He wasn’t swept up in the glacier’s current. Had his body been 50 feet moved in either direction, this current would have destroyed his body.
But somehow, by luck or happenstance, his body was perfectly preserved. Ötzi’s body was found face-down, laying over a rock, covered in ice. Literally between a rock and a hard place (buh-dum-ching) – which shifted some of his organs. His stomach had shifted so much that it was almost in his chest. And again, we got to see it in the documentary via endoscope and I cannot stress how gross it is.
Anywho, they find grain, fat, and meat in Ötzi’s stomach. The grain is some kind of wheat, one of the first kinds harvested by people. The meat is wild goat called ibex, which still roams the alps. He was well-fed.
After 9 hours of disgusting research, they freeze him back up and although they didn’t get all the answers they were looking for, they did get DNA.
Ancient DNA is trickier – it could be easily contaminated, but they are trying to find out as much as possible about him, so the DNA samples came from deep within the bone. Gag. But it does get them super pure DNA – 97% of the DNA is from Ötzi… but that leaves 3%… which was traced to a microbe that causes Lyme disease. Meaning that ticks have been fucking shit up since the stone age. So, thank you, ticks. Also, his left knee was swollen, which is a symptom of Lyme Disease.
There were also some other DNA markers. Ötzi had brown eyes. His genetic makeup didn’t link him to the alps, but from Sardinia, which for you ignorant bitches like me who didn’t know where that was, it’s an island in the Mediterranean. They also found that Ötzi had a marker for heart disease. They found calcium deposits in his artery – even though he was exercising and eating organically, his arteries look like a typical 40-year-old man now. This means that we haven’t evolved that much over the past 5000 years and also that our health is a combination of nurture AND nature. Genes will get you.
Also interesting in my opinion? He couldn’t digest milk. He was lactose intolerant. Apparently, in the stone age, all humans were lactose intolerant. They could digest milk as infants, but not as adults. There was a mutation, which eventually allowed some adults to digest milk. And those lucky bitches are still out here digesting dairy properly today.
Okay, back to the murder part. Let’s put together these clues: There was ½ pound of food in his stomach, ¼ pound of which was removed. Food can remain in the human stomach for about an hour, so Ötzi had probably recently eaten before he died. Why would he sit down and eat a huge meal if he was on the run from his enemies?
If we add up the missing arrow shaft, the brain bleeding, the valuable copper axe left behind, and a full stomach, scientists believe that Ötzi was killed by someone he knew, maybe a member of his community. He didn’t see it coming – this motherfucker snuck up on him. It makes sense because whoever killed him knew that Otzi’s axe would make the killer more identifiable, and he didn’t want to be known.
So we can’t say exactly why he was killed, but it seems like a pretty good theory to me!
And that’s the story of the discovery and murder of Otzi, the iceman. And if you ever do make it to Bolzano, Italy, you can see him. He’s stored in The South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, in a specially-made cold cell. His equipment and clothing have been restored, and you can see them all in this exhibit.
Thanks again Charlie for the suggestion!
- AETV – Steven Hicks
- Crime Museum
- All That’s Interesting
- The Chronicle
- Practical Pie
- Crime Reads
- Time Graphics
- Time Graphics 2
- Time Graphics 3
- Course Hero
- Course Hero 2
- Reams of Stories
- The Jeffrey Dahmer Files, Documentary on Netflix
- Conversations with a Killer, Documentary on Netflix
- Our Plant Based World
- Cafe Monika