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Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s murder spree came to an end after a man he was trying to prey upon managed to get away and notify the police.
Said man is Tracy Edwards, who famously escaped Dahmer’s Milwaukee home on July 22, 1991. His escape is depicted in “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” now streaming on Netflix. In the 10-episode series, Edwards, played by actor Shaun J. Brown, notices a foul smell not long after being lured into Dahmer’s apartment, which was filled with decaying body parts. Edwards attempts to leave but Dahmer convinces him to stay, later threatening Edward with a knife and handcuffing him. Ultimately, Edwards manages to escape and flags down a Milwaukee police car. When the officers knock at Dahmer’s door, they notice the foul smell and evidence of murder. Dahmer is arrested as a result.
In real life, Edwards’ escape and quick thinking really did help police arrest and charge Dahmer, thus putting a stop to his spree, Reuters reported in 2012. Police found body parts in Dahmer’s fridge after a still-handcuffed Edwards detailed his encounter with Dahmer.
Edwards went on to testify in the Wisconsin v. Dahmer trial.
"Monster" seeks to illustrate how there were prior missed opportunities to stop Dahmer. Just months earlier, another victim — 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone — also escaped and managed to flag down help. However, Dahmer managed to convince officers that Sinthasomphone was his lover, and the boy went back into Dahmer's apartment, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Dahmer later murdered the child.
Decades after his heroic escape, Edwards' life spiraled out of control. Tragically, by 2011, he was homeless and had racked up several drug and theft charges. Additionally, he was sentenced to prison for a year and a half for his involvement in a death in 2012, according to Reuters, which reported that he and two other homeless men were involved in an argument in 2011; one of the men fell from a bridge and died. Edwards was initially charged with homicide but pleaded guilty to a reduced charge to aiding a felon, the Associated Press reported in 2012.
“It’s like Humpty Dumpty,” Edwards' defense attorney Paul Ksicinski told ABC News in 2011. “It’s like he was never able to put the pieces back together again.”
It’s not clear where Edwards is now.
Dahmer, who pleaded guilty to 15 deaths, killed 17 men and boys over the course of 13 years, many of whom were Black and gay. “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” however, has received criticism on social media for romanticizing the serial killer, Newsweek reports.
A relative of Dahmer victim Errol Lindsey (whose sister Rita Isbell famously yelled at Dahmer in court) tweeted Sept. 22, “I’m not telling anyone what to watch, I know true crime media is huge rn, but if you’re actually curious about the victims, my family (the Isbell’s) are pissed about this show. It’s retraumatizing over and over again, and for what? How many movies/shows/documentaries do we need?”
There have been several movies based on Dahmer's life and crimes already, including the 2002 film, “Dahmer,” starring Jeremy Renner. Additionally, “My Friend Dahmer” was released in 2017, depicting the killer’s high school years and the events leading up to his first murder.
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