Jeffrey Dahmer was one of the most notorious serial killers in modern history. Nicknamed the “Milwaukee Cannibal,” Dahmer murdered 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. His gruesome crimes involved rape, dismemberment, necrophilia, and cannibalism. Dahmer’s modus operandi did involve extracting blood from some of his victims before and after death. However, the reasons for this were complex and went beyond just collecting blood samples.
Dahmer’s Childhood and Descent into Murder
Jeffrey Dahmer was born in 1960 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. By all accounts, he had a relatively normal childhood until the age of 4 when he underwent surgery for a double hernia. The surgery seemed to change Dahmer, making him withdrawn and anxious. As a teen, Dahmer became obsessed with dead animals and started drinking heavily. He committed his first murder in 1978 at age 18, just weeks after his high school graduation.
Over the next 13 years, Dahmer descended further into alcoholism, violent sexual fantasies, and compulsive murder. He used deception and charm to lure young men to his home, where he drugged, strangled, and dismembered them. As his obsession grew, his methods became more depraved. Dahmer began experimenting with chemical means to turn his victims into submissive “zombies” and preserv Their skeletons as trophies.
Dahmer’s Extraction and Use of Blood
Extracting and consuming blood became part of Dahmer’s modus operandi, but he did not do it with every victim. Based on Dahmer’s confession and evidence found in his apartment, we know blood featured in at least six of the murders:
- Steven Tuomi, 1987 – Dahmer said he accidently killed Tuomi during a drunken rage. Afterwards, he extracted blood from Tuomi’s chest and abdomen with a syringe.
- Jamie Doxtator, 1988 – Dahmer drugged Doxtator and drilled a hole in his head while alive to extract blood and inject hydrochloric acid. He strangled Doxtator after the failed lobotomy attempt.
- Ernest Miller, 1990 – After killing Miller, Dahmer extracted blood from his bicep and stored it in a freezer for future consumption.
- David Thomas, 1990 – Dahmer again drilled through Thomas’ skull and extracted blood while he was alive. He injected this blood into his own arm, claiming he “wanted Thomas’ heart.”
- Oliver Lacy, 1991 – Dahmer extracted Lacy’s heart after killing him and placed it in the fridge. He also removed some of Lacy’s blood.
- Joseph Bradehoft, 1991 – Dahmer left Bradehoft’s dead body on his bed for two days to draw blood as it decomposed. He estimated he extracted two quarts total.
Motivations for Draining Blood
Based on Dahmer’s confession and psychiatric evaluations, several key motivations emerged for why he drained blood from victims:
- Necrophilia – Dahmer achieved sexual gratification from having sex with corpses. Fresh blood helped prolong rigor mortis and allowed Dahmer to fantasize his victims were still somewhat alive.
- Cannibalism – Dahmer admitted consuming blood and organs from several victims. He believed he could feel their power in himself by literately absorbing part of them.
- “Zombification” experiments – Dahmer was obsessed with rendering his victims completely submissive and tried injecting chemicals like hydrochloric acid into their brains. Extracting blood may have facilitated these crude lobotomy experiments.
- Collection/preservation – Dahmer hoarded and preserved gruesome trophies from victims like skulls and organs. Blood was likely collected out of this compulsion to keep macabre artifacts.
- Ritualistic purpose – Some experts believe Dahmer’s partly engaged in a kind of ritual or ceremony by draining blood. The act gave him a psychological “high” and sense of power over life and death.
How Blood Factored into Dahmer’s Arrest
Ironically, the same compulsion that led Dahmer to extract blood helped lead to his eventual arrest. On July 22, 1991, Dahmer lured 32-year-old Tracy Edwards to his home. After handcuffing Edwards and threatening him with a knife, Dahmer extracted blood from Edwards’ chest. Edwards managed to escape and found police with the handcuffs still dangling from his wrist.
When police arrived at Dahmer’s apartment, they noticed a foul smell and discovered photographs of dismembered bodies. Further searching uncovered preserved human organs and an extensive collection of blood stored in Dahmer’s refrigerator and freezer. Dahmer confessed and led police to additional evidence like victim skulls and a vat of acid used for disposal. His blood extraction kit was also confiscated as critical evidence.
Items Found in Dahmer’s Apartment Related to Blood
|Blood extraction kit||Included a syringe, needles, tubing, and glass vials for storing blood samples.|
|Refrigerator and freezer||Contained bottles and containers of blood collected from victims.|
|Polaroids||Showed Dahmer’s victims at various stages with blood visible in some images.|
|Chemicals||Like hydrochloric acid, which Dahmer injected into victims’ brains after drilling holes and extracting blood.|
|Dismembered body parts||Including severed heads with the blood drained from them.|
In the end, Jeffrey Dahmer’s obsession with killing led him to extract blood from at least 6 of his 17 victims. His reasons ranged from sexual gratification to crude experimentation to ritual and collection. Ironically, it was Dahmer’s proclivity for extracting blood that enabled his final victim, Tracy Edwards, to escape and lead police back to Dahmer’s house of horrors. Once inside the apartment, detectives discovered extensive evidence of Dahmer’s blood extraction rituals, leading to his arrest, confession, and eventual conviction.