Jeffrey Dahmer is one of the most famous serial killers of our time. His murderous, cannibalistic spree occurred between 1978 and 1991, during which time he callously murdered 17 black and Asian boys.
The handsome, charming and well spoken man from Milwaukee was the son of an analytical chemist and during his youth he developed a morbid fascination with dissecting dead birds. His obsession grew to other animals including cats and dogs, which he buried in the woods near his home. Dahmer’s teenage years saw him become a loner and an alcoholic and after two years in the army at the command of his father, he was discharged because of his heavy drinking.
Unable to face his father he then went to live with is grandmother for the next 6 years, but after an arrest for exposing himself publicly, she asked him to move out.
By this time Dahmer had already begun murdering young boys. As a 17 year old he was arrested for fondling a 13 year old boy and sentenced to a year’s incarceration. He was released early for good behaviour having served 10 months.
After his release the murdering began.
Jeffrey Dahmer’s good neighbour
Glenda Cleveland lived next door to Jeffrey Dahmer neighbour, and were it not for the ignorance of police at the time, the serial killer’s reign of horror could have ended sooner than it did.
One well documented night Glenda Cleveland witnessed a very distressed Asian boy running from her neighbour’s house. The boy was naked and dazed so she immediately called the police.
The police responded quickly but a calm and well spoken blonde haired man told them that the boy was his 19 year old lover who was drunk after an argument. The police accepted the story and after escorting the couple back into Dahmer’s apartment they made to leave.
Glenda Cleveland wasn’t buying the story though and she questioned the police again, repeatedly asking them, “Are you sure?”
Her daughter, Sandra Smith, and her niece, Nicole Childress, saw Sinthasomphone fleeing Dahmer’s clutches on the night of May 27, 1991, but they were dismissed by police at the scene. They told Cleveland what they’d seen and she called police numerous times, feeling that something was not right.
The drunken boy, running naked in the streets that night was in fact 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone, and after the police left the scene that night he became Dahmer’s next victim, his skull kept as a trophy to vindicate that fact.
Two decades of peace after Jeffrey Dahmer
Glenda Cleveland passed away on December 24th, 2010. By all accounts her passing was peaceful.
For almost 20 years after that night in May, and Dahmer’s subsequent arrest a few months later, she was harassed and harangued by the press and, to a lesser extent, by tourists who made Dahmer’s residence something of a theme park and pilgrimage.
Cleveland was formally honoured by the Common Council and the County Board. Mayor John Norquist hailed her as a model citizen, and she received awards from local women’s groups and even the Milwaukee Police Department. Some of the plaques were still hanging in pride of place on the walls of her immaculately kept apartment, reminding would be visitors until the day of her passing of her attempts to save a life.
The end of Jeffrey Dahmer
After Dahmer’s arrest, the Rev. Jesse Jackson visited Milwaukee and took the time to meet Glenda Cleveland.
“Police chose the word of a killer over an innocent woman,” he told the public.
His words were incisive, and the fact that Dahmer was a middle class white male, and Cleveland was a working class black woman didn’t go unnoticed by angered African Americans.
Dahmer went on to claim 5 more victims after Cleveland tried so hard to convince police something was amiss. He was arrested and sentenced to 15 life terms. After venting his remorse in prison he wished death for himself, and he was duly obliged by a fellow inmate while cleaning a gymnasium.
Dahmer was found with severe head trauma in the prison’s gym, along with another badly beaten inmate. He was taken to hospital but died in transit.
Please share your thoughts on Glenda Cleveland and her good Samaritan nature by leaving a comment.
Read about other heroic women like Jane Goodall, Shalane Flanagan, Yvette Rodier and Elizabeth Edwards.
images: freeweb.hu, queerty.com