Jeffrey Dahmer FBI file reveals chilling Polaroid collection from grisly murders

The serial killer took photos of his victims because he “wanted to keep them as mementos to keep him company”

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Sunday 23 October 2022 17:57 BST

Related video: Jeffrey Dahmer’s Death Explained

Photos from the home of the serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer show saws, power tools, and the state of his apartment on the night of his arrest.

Police searched Dahmer’s apartment, number 213 at 924 North 25th Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on the night of 22 July, 1991 after his last victim Tracy Edwards escaped with one of his wrists still attached to a pair of handcuffs.

The 32-year-old told police that Dahmer had threatened him with a knife, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Police went into the apartment and found the key to the handcuffs, as well as the knife in Dahmer’s room.

Law enforcement also discovered around 80 Polaroid images of Dahmer’s victims in an open drawer – posed, naked, and dismembered, Oxygen noted.

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology wrote in 1994 that Dahmer took the photos because he “wanted to keep them as mementos to keep him company”.

Police also discovered heads severed from their bodies, skulls that had been bleached, and a vat of acid measuring 57 gallons for liquefying flesh.

The fridge held prepackaged body parts to eat, with it later being shown that the parts came from 11 different people.

Dahmer, who killed 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991, was sentenced to 16 life terms in prison and was sent to the Columbia Correctional Institution in Wisconsin in 1992.

On 28 November 1994, Dahmer was beaten to death by inmate Christopher Scarver, The Sun noted.

The fish tank

Dahmer once said that the bad smells emanating from his home were caused by his fish dying, according to Oxygen.

The saws and other tools

The serial killer and cannibal would often decapitate and dismember the victims to get rid of or preserve their remains.

The kitchen

Detective Patrick Kennedy told the radio programme Rover’s Morning Glory that “the word surreal is used quite a bit. But it really was surreal here”.

“When I looked into the refrigerator, it was a clean and empty refrigerator except for an open box of Arm & Hammer soda in the back and this box in the middle containing this freshly severed, bloodless, human head,” he said. “It was a black male with his eyes and mouth open with an expression of almost excitement or surprise so when I saw it, I can say that I had been a police officer for many years and seen some horrendous things ... But I can tell you that the sight was so weird that everything in my whole being told me, ‘man you need to get the hell out of here’.”

The bed

Police found a mattress soaked in blood alongside tools used in the killings. Dahmer dismembered his victims after drugging them.

Law enforcement sent frozen organ samples to the FBI crime lab in Quantico, Virginia as well as bits of fabric from Dahmer’s couch, carpets, and the sheets on his bed, The Sun noted.

In the documentary Dahmer On Dahmer: A Serial Killer Speaks, his former neighbour Pamela Bass said that she once helped him clean the apartment when the landlord had told Dahmer that he could be evicted because of the bad smells coming from the home.

“I went in to help him clean up, and he told me, ‘It’s the freezer over there. My grandma had sent me some meat, and I put it in there and I went back to her house and I forgot to plug it in.’ I haven’t been around no dead people; I don’t know anything about how they smell. He had a very good disguise, that’s what it was,” she said.

She added that when the Polaroids of Dahmer’s victims were found, an officer shouted “get the cuffs on him” or something to that effect.

“The other one came out in the hallway, and I was running down that way to get out the way because I said, ‘I don’t know what they’re doing. I don’t know what they found’,” she said.

Dahmer told Inside Edition in 1993 that he “was branching out, that’s when the cannibalism started, eating of the heart and the arm muscle. It was a way of making me feel that they were a part of me. At first, it was just curiosity, and then it became compulsive”.

The New York Times reported in 1992 that officers initially came to Dahmer’s home in May of the previous year to return a partially undressed boy, aged 14, that they discovered walking the streets. Dahmer managed to make the officers think that he and the boy were having a lovers’ argument and that he was safe with him.

Dahmer said that he murdered the child after the police vacated the home.

“If officers had looked in the next room they would have found skulls, frozen body parts, severed heads, torsos in an acid-filled vat and preserved genitals,” he said, according to the paper.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in