In the official files of Jeffrey Dahmer’s confession to Milwaukee police, a report from Detective Joseph Nowicki states:
“On Mon., 7/22/91, at approximately 11:30PM, officers responded to a call for help from a citizen who directed them to an apartment at 924 N. 25th St., Apt. #213. Upon arrival of the officers on Sq. 31, they observed various photographs in the apartment, depicting dismembered bodies. When they opened the refrigerator, the officers observed the dismembered head of a human being inside. The suspect was subsequently placed under arrest and admitted this offense.”
And that’s how it began, 25 years ago. Little did they know then the extent of the horror that would continue to unfold.
In 2015, former Miami Herald training supervisor Willis Morgan published the book Frustrated Witness! The Story of the Adam Walsh Case and Police Misconduct. This lengthy and exhaustive exposé mostly serves to argue Morgan’s opinion that it was Jeffrey Dahmer who abducted six-year-old Adam Walsh from a Sears in a Florida mall in 1981 and not Ottis Toole, who had confessed to the crime (and recanted … and confessed … and recanted … and so on). It’s true that Dahmer was living in the same area of Florida at the time, but Morgan’s tale is tough to swallow, as his main claim — that he witnessed Dahmer in the mall, and in the Sears, on the day of Walsh’s abduction, and briefly interacted with him — is based on him recognizing Dahmer when he saw his photo on TV 10 years later. Maybe it was Dahmer and maybe it wasn’t, but that’s pretty thin evidence.
Even if the premise of his book is hard to buy for some, Morgan has spent three decades trying to prove his belief, and has conducted numerous interviews and done thorough research into the people involved. He uncovered and has made publicly available numerous police and FBI files and photos related to Adam Walsh, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Ottis Toole.
It’s possible to be skeptical of his claim but still find information of value in his research. Here are some little known facts about Jeffrey Dahmer that we learned from Morgan’s research and other sources.
- Many people who disagree with Morgan’s assertion that Dahmer is responsible for abducting and killing Adam Walsh point out that Walsh was a lot younger than Dahmer’s known victims. But Dahmer did victimize boys as young as 13, and at the time of his arrest, he was on probation for “enticing a child for immoral purposes.” He had also been convicted of exposing himself to younger children. It’s also worth noting that he met at least one of his known victims in a mall.
- Jeffrey Dahmer was trained as a combat medic in the army and was stationed in Baumholder, Germany. His 1979 Army photo is viewable here. Morgan interviewed Preston Davis, who took Dahmer on a two-and-a-half week Army training exercise. Morgan claims that Davis confessed to him that at the end of their assignment, Dahmer “gave him a drink that knocked him out,” and sexually assaulted him. Years later, he filed a claim for post-traumatic stress disorder due to the incident.
- In 1979, Dahmer, Davis, and some other soldiers celebrated Thanksgiving together. Late that night, after an argument about sleeping arrangements, Dahmer left the house and disappeared into a blizzard. He came back four hours later, confused, without his glasses, and his clothing was warm to the touch. He had blood on his jacket, and told the guys that he couldn’t remember where he’d been or what had happened, and he said, “I think I did something bad, but I can’t talk about it.”
- In 1980, Billy Joe Capshaw, 17 at the time, was Dahmer’s roommate in the Army. He told Morgan that after just a few days, Dahmer began to control him, lock him in their room, and masturbate in front of him. Capshaw claims to have been repeatedly drugged, beaten with a metal bedpost, and raped by Dahmer, over 18 months, to the point that Capshaw started to plan how to kill Dahmer. Capshaw would rouse from being drugged and find himself tied up or being anally penetrated by Dahmer. One particularly horrifying claim on his part was that Dahmer had attempted to “cut out his prostate.” Other times, Dahmer would lie next to him, caress him, and tell him he loved him. Ashamed, Capshaw did not admit to what had happened to him until years later, but when he did, he was awarded a medical disability pension and another substantial sum of money for, as the Army put it, “being tortured by a roommate.” Capshaw maintains his own website to tell his story, and on it he claims that he was suffering from Stockholm Syndrome during this time.
- Capshaw also reports that while they were living together, Dahmer came back from a long night out with scratches on his face and arms and blood on his shirt.
- In another instance, Capshaw says that when Dahmer returned from his 1980 Thanksgiving holiday, his shirt and pants were covered in blood, to the extent that his shirt was stuck to his stomach with dried blood.
- In addition to Morgan, there is another person who claims to have seen Dahmer in Sears in the Hollywood Mall in Florida, this time one week before Adam Walsh was abducted. She remembers a “disheveled stranger” with “a cold, dead look” staring at her 13-year-old daughter at the mall in 1981. Ten years later, after seeing Dahmer on TV, she knew “right away that it was him,” despite not knowing that he was living in Florida at that time. “Who could forget those eyes!” she said.
- After he left Florida and moved in with his grandmother in Ohio, Dahmer tried to get on the “straight and narrow” by throwing himself into his grandmother’s Christianity and attending church with her. When that didn’t succeed in banishing his fantasies of gay sex and “mutilation of human beings,” he turned to the dark side and explored the occult and Satanism. In the police files, it reveals how after some dabbling, this path didn’t suit Dahmer either, and he eventually just threw himself into the gay lifestyle, and started patronizing bathhouses, adult bookstores, and gay bars. The files continue: “He gave in to his homosexual desires, that it slowly began to escalate over years until he finally gave in to his fantasies of killing and dismembering men after homosexual acts….”
- In 1988, while serving a year in a work-release program at the Milwaukee House of Corrections for drugging and molesting a 13-year-old boy, Dahmer was given a day pass to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family. After the meal, he left and went drinking in gay bars, ending up talking and drinking with a man at the scene of many of his abductions, the 219 Club — although this time he was the victim. After blacking out from drinking too much, he woke up the next morning hogtied in the man’s apartment, suspended by hooks and ropes from the ceiling. The man was anally penetrating Dahmer with a candle. He screamed and demanded to be let go, and unlike Dahmer himself, the man showed him mercy and released him. Dahmer told this story to the police, pointing out that that time, “he was actually the victim.”
- In 1992, Dahmer was interviewed by Broward County police at the behest of John Walsh after Ottis Toole had recanted his confession. Dahmer attested that he had had nothing to do with the Adam Walsh case. Agent Neil Purtell thought his denial sounded suspicious, so pressed him further. Dahmer replied, “Honest to God, Neil, I didn’t do it,” adding, “You know, Neil, anyone who killed Adam Walsh could not live in any prison, ever.” Purtell believed that this was an indirect way of confessing to the crime, without admitting it directly, knowing that if he went to prison as a pedophile and child killer, that he’d be murdered.
Of course, Dahmer was murdered in prison anyway. He was killed by another inmate on November 28, 1994. (What is it with Dahmer and Thanksgiving time?) Neither he nor Ottis Toole are still alive to be of any more assistance in the investigations of the murder of Adam Walsh or any unsolved violent murders that happened in the area of Baumholder, Germany, while Dahmer was stationed there, and allegedly finding himself periodically covered in blood.
On this, the 25-year-anniversary of the arrest of the “Milwaukee Cannibal,” we can at least be glad that he can’t hurt anyone else, and continue to give an ear to those who were victimized by his actions.
Main photo: Milwaukee Police Department