Jeffrey Dahmer Survivor Reveals How He Made His Great Escape

By Eloise Heath 8 months ago

1. Jeffrey Dahmer was a notorious serial killer

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Jeffrey Dahmer, the notorious "Milwaukee Cannibal," is one of the most notorious and infamous names in the history of crime. He shocked the world with his gruesome acts of serial murder, necrophilia, and cannibalism. He's widely considered one of the most chilling examples of human depravity.

2. There were warning signs in his childhood

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There were some troubling indicators of what was to come in Jeffrey Dahmer's childhood. He showed a fascination with dissecting animals which, as any true crime fan worth their salt will know is a TEXTBOOK red flag. He seemed obsessed by violence and cruelty, and his family life was strained.

3. His reign of terror lasted 1978 to 1991

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Despite the shocking nature of his crimes, Dahmer terrorised Milwaukee for a shocking 13 years. During that time, he killed at least sixteen people, often dismembering and otherwise abusing their bodies in the process. It wasn't until one would-be victim made a bold escape that he could be stopped.

4. Who was Tracy Edwards?

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Before his brush with death brought him into the public eye, Tracy Edwards was just a regular young man, living a very ordinary life in Milwaukee. He had no idea that July 22nd 1991 was a night he would barely escape with his life, and that would leave him scarred.

5. Edwards and Dahmer met in a bar

Image Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 
Edwards was enjoying a relaxed evening of drinks and laughs with friends at the Grand Avenue Mall, when Jeffrey Dahmer approached him and began chatting. Whilst not considered to have the dark charisma that Bundy or Manson wielded, he was shy, but good at disguising his monstrous nature.

6. He invited Edwards to watch The Exorcist

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Once he'd established sufficient rapport, Dahmer made his move. In a seemingly innocent move, he invited Edwards to hang out at his apartment and watch a movie. (Although the movie he suggested was The Exorcist, which is obviously a very creepy choice).

7. He offered him $100 for nudes

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When Edwards started to have second thoughts about going along with these invitations, he wanted to head home. That was when Dahmer offered him one hundred dollars if he'd pose for some nude photos- he tried to keep the atmosphere light by offering him a few beers too.

8. Edwards noticed a terrible smell in the apartment

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Straight away, Edwards noticed something was off inside the apartment: a horrible and strange smell had permeated the rooms. This is when he tried to make a break for it, sensing that he was in danger and that something was seriously wrong- but escape wouldn't be that easy.

9. Edwards was handcuffed

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That was when Dahmer showed his true colors, overpowering Edwards and handcuffing him. Crucially, Edward managed to manoeuvre himself so that Dahmer only cuffed one of his wrists- a moment that proves crucial as the ordeal wears on. We can't imagine the utter terror he must have felt.

10. Dahmer held him at knifepoint

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Having cuffed Edwards, Dahmer needed a way to keep him from trying to run. He retrieved a knife and threatened him with it. Under the threat of violence, there was nothing Edwards could do- he decided to comply, for now, in the hopes of saving his own life.

11. Dahmer threatened to eat Edwards' heart

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From here it went from bad to worse; Dahmer was totally in control. At one point, still brandishing the knife, Dahmer laid his head on Edwards' chest. In this chilling moment, listening to his pulse, he told him he would eat his heart out of his chest.

12. Dahmer began speaking in tongues

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At this point, with Edwards handcuffed to the radiator in his bedroom, Dahmer began watching The Exorcist Part III. Engrossed in the movie, he began rocking back and forth, and speaking in 'tongues' like he was possessed. A terrifying sight- but a respite that gave Edwards time to strategise.

13. Edwards tried desperately to keep Dahmer calm

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Edwards instinctively knew that he had to keep Dahmer calm if he stood a chance of escaping. He began to talk with him as if they were friends, assuring him he wouldn't attack him or run away, and pretending he was comfortable with being photographed.

14. Dahmer raped and cannibalised some of his victims

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Jeffrey Dahmer's crimes are truly the stuff of nightmares: after strangling some of his victims to death, he engaged in acts of necrophilia, dismemberment and cannibalism. It's crucial to remember the truly awful nature of his crimes, and not to let the dramatic nature of the events get glamorised.

15. Edwards chose his moment to strike

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Edwards had been lying in wait for his moment to make a break for it. Dahmer had been holding the loose handcuff, but by this point had let it go. Having reasurred Dahmer that they were friends, and that he wasn't going to run away, he told him he had to use the bathroom.

16. He punched Dahmer in the face and fled

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This was his one chance: failure now would surely have meant certain death. Walking across the bedroom towards the bathroom, he crossed close past the Milwaukee Monster. He struck out, punching Dahmer and, as the killer reeled, he sprinted for the door.

17. He ran for his life

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Bursting through the front door of the apartment, Tracy Edwards sprinted into the street: quite literally running for his life. He ran, knowing he had to put some distance between him and the monster he had just escaped. He had no way of knowing if Dahmer was already in pursuit.

18. Finally, he found the help he needed

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He finally managed to flag down police, and with a stunning amount of composure explained that a man had just tried to kill him. He agreed to take them to the apartment- where they could also retrieve the key to the cuff still around his wrist. Returning back to that hell hole must have taken unimaginable strength.

19. When they reached the apartment Dahmer invited them in


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According to various sources, and testimonies from the trial, Dahmer was quite calm when he answered the door to the cops. He let them in with no resistance. Perhaps he was resigned to his fate, of being caught in his heinous deeds, because when the police entered- it was all over for him.

20. They knew straight away something wasn't right

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Sometimes it doesn't take a born detective to tell something is up. Just like Edwards, they noticed the strange and unsettling smell in the apartment. Then, after a cursory inspection, they began finding weapons littered around the place. Something was seriously wrong here.

21. Dahmer's neighbor had been trying to stop him for months!

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One tragic element of this story is that Jeffrey Dahmer's neighbor, Glenda Cleveland, had been attempting to report him to the police for months. She was unnerved by the smell, and suspected that her neighbor was up to no good. If something had come of her complaints, Edwards might not have gone through this ordeal.

22. They discovered horrifying photo evidence

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In a drawer, the police made a horrifying discovery. Stashed away were over seventy polaroid photos, all of which were incredibly graphic: showing dead bodies in various stages of decomposition and dismemberment. Truly a testament to the twisted nature of this man's mind.

23. They found a severed head in the freezer

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But the polaroids were nothing compared to what they found in the fridge. Wrapped up, but right in plain view, was a severed human head. On top of the tragedy of that persons' death and suffering, we can't imagine how traumatic this was for the investigators who discovered it too.

24. The apartment was full of gory horrors

Image Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel  
The chilling discovery in the fridge didn't prove the end of it, though. As they explored the apartment, body parts and bloodied tools were found stashed everywhere. Although Dahmer was convicted of 17 murders, there are theories that he killed many more.

25. Dahmer was arrested and sent to prison

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Dahmer was taken into custody immediately, so that he couldn't flee or cause any more harm whilst investigators unravelled the full extent of his horrific crimes. He was charged with seventeen counts of murder, and Tracy Edwards faced the daunting task of testifying about his ordeal.

26. Edwards was a key part of the trial

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Edwards' testimony on the stand was crucial in securing the conviction; and Dahmer was sentenced to sixteen consecutive life sentences in 1992 due to Edwards' escape. He would only serve two of those years, though, as he would be beaten to death by another inmate in 1994.

27. Police recognised him and connected him to SA case

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In an unexpected twist, the media attention he garnered from his role in the trial, Tracy Edwards was in trouble with the law. Having seen him on the widely televised news coverage, police indicted him to Toledo, Mississippi in connection to a sexual battery case.

28. He sued the police in Milwauke but it was thrown out

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Later, Edwards attempted to sue the police in Milwaukee. He contended that if they had acted sooner, and followed up on tips such as the one from Dahmer's neighbor Glenda, he could have been caught sooner, sparing Edwards' the traumatic nightmare. The case was thrown out of court.

29. He never got over it and eventually became homeless

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Details about Tracy Edward's life going forward are hazy. It appeared to most that he never recovered from what happened to him that night, and that the trauma may have been a factor in what became a struggle to survive. He became homeless, and was haunted by his near death experience.

30. He was arrested for attempted murder

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In true crime cases, it's sometimes easy to presume there is one villain and one hero- but real life is rarely quite so black and white. In July 2011, Edwards was arrested for trying to push a man off a bridge and kill him. His defense attorney, Paul Ksicinski, told news outlets that he'd never really escaped his experience with Dahmer: "It's like Humpty Dumpty. It's like he was never able to put the pieces back together again."

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