Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Jeffrey Dahmer

The Head in the Fridge

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!"

Dahmer's freezer
Dahmer's freezer

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.

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 two skulls.

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

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.

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.

 

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