Jeffrey Dahmer. A name that shocked Milwaukee and the entire nation to the core. A name whose murderous rampage might have continued indefinitely had one of his victims not escaped.
On the night of July 22, 1991, 32-year-old Tracy Edwards flagged down two Milwaukee police officers claiming a “freak” kidnapped and handcuffed him. Edwards accompanied the policemen back to Dahmer’s apartment, where he claimed to have been held captive for five hours.
Upon arrival, Edwards revealed Dahmer also threatened him with a knife and told him he wanted to eat his heart.
Surprisingly, Dahmer did not seem bothered by Edwards’ claims and simply directed the officers to a handcuff key on his bedside dresser.
Upon entering the bedroom, the officer stumbled upon a large knife hidden under the bed as well as an open dresser with Polaroid pictures of dismembered human bodies.
“These are for real,” the officer called back to his partner in the living room. The discovery startled Dahmer, who tried to avoid arrest but was quickly overpowered by an officer.
A search conducted by the Milwaukee police’s Criminal Investigation Bureau revealed five severed heads, seven skulls (including some that were painted or bleached), and a tray of blood drippings inside a refrigerator.
Investigators also discovered two human hearts and a part of an arm wrapped in plastic bags on the refrigerator shelves, as well as a torso and a bag of human organs and flesh frozen in ice at the bottom of Dahmer’s freezer.
Further investigation revealed two skeletons, a pair of severed hands, two severed penises, and a mummified scalp, as well as three more torsos dissolving in acid in the 57-gallon drum.
74 Polaroid photographs in total were found detailing the dismemberment of each of Dahmer’s victims.
“It was more like dismantling someone’s museum than an actual crime scene,” the chief medical examiner once said.
Neighbors, curious onlookers, and members of the media flocked to the scene of the killings.
“Everyone in the building felt suckered. We all felt that Jeffrey Dahmer had played us. It’s really hard to become fond of someone, to find out that actually that person had a dagger in your back. I thought this guy was my friend,” Pamela Bass, Dahmer’s neighbor told the press.
In addition to an extensive search of the apartment, police expanded their search to include the area and buildings around the apartment building.
More than a week later, investigators started searching the backyard of Dahmer’s family home where he claimed to have killed his first victim Steven M. Hicks.
In an effort to make the disposal easier, several weeks after Hicks’ murder, Dahmer dug the body up, dissolved it in acid, and crushed the bones with a sledgehammer.
Despite their efforts, investigators failed to recover Hicks’ remains but eventually charged Dahmer with the murder based on his confession.
“I created this horror and it only makes sense I do everything to put an end to it,” Dahmer said.