Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Jeffery Dahmer - The Head in the Fridge

A couple of months later on July 22, 1991, two Milwaukee police officers were driving around in the very high-crime area around Marquette University. The heat was oppressive and the humidity almost unbearable. The smell of the neighborhood was all the more pungent in the heat: the garbage on the streets, the urine and feces left by the homeless, the rancid stink of cooked grease.

Around midnight, as the two officers sat in their car, they saw a short, wiry black man with a handcuff dangling from his wrist. Assuming that this man had escaped from another policeman, they asked him what he was doing. The man started to pour out a tale about this "weird dude" who put the cuffs on him in his apartment. The man was Tracy Edwards.

Edwards' story smacked of some homosexual encounter that normally the police would avoid, but the two policemen thought they ought to check out this man that had cuffed Edwards who lived at the Oxford Apartments at 924 North 25th Street. The door to Apartment 213 was opened by a nice looking thirty-one-year-old blond man.

Dahmer was very calm and rational. He offered to get the key to the handcuffs in the bedroom. Edwards remembered that the knife that Dahmer had threatened him with was also in the bedroom.

Once of the officers decided to go into the bedroom himself and take a look. He noticed photographs lying around that shocked him: dismembered human bodies, skulls in the refrigerator. When he collected his wits, he yelled to his partner to cuff Dahmer and place him under arrest.


The placid, rational blond man suddenly turned on them and fought as the other cop tried to cuff him. While the one officer subdued Dahmer, the other one went to the refrigerator and opened it. He shrieked loudly at the face that stared out at him and slammed the door. "There's a f—king head in the refrigerator!"
A closer examination of the apartment revealed an intimate juxtaposition of the tidy and the unspeakable. While the small one-bedroom flat was neat and clean, especially for a bachelor, and his pet fish well cared for, the smell of decomposition was overwhelming.

Dahmer's freezer
Dahmer's freezer


The box of baking soda in the refrigerator hardly absorbed the odors of a decomposing severed head. The freezer had three more heads, stored neatly in plastic bags and tied with plastic twisties.
There was a door that led to the bedroom, bedroom closet and bath, which had been outfitted with a dead-bolt lock. Anne E. Schwartz, the reporter who was first on the scene, describes what she saw in her book The Man Who Could Not Kill Enough: "...in the back of the closet was a metal stockpot that contained decomposed hands and a penis. On the shelf above the kettle were 2 skulls.

Also in the closet were containers of ethyl alcohol, chloroform, and formaldehyde, along with some glass jars holding male genitalia preserved in formaldehyde...Polaroid photos taken by Dahmer at various stages of his victims' deaths. One showed a man's head, with the flesh still intact, lying in a sink. Another displayed a victim cut open from the neck to the groin, like a deer gutted after the kill, the cuts so clean I could see the pelvic bone clearly." Some of the photos were his victims before he murdered them in various erotic and bondage poses.

Outside Dahmer's front door
Outside Dahmer's front door 


The police, the county medical examiner, the media, families of missing young men, Jeff Dahmer's family, the entire city of Milwaukee, and the whole world tried to understand what had really happened in Apartment 213. Eventually the story began to tumble out.

By Marilyn Badsley

 

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