When did Jeffrey Dahmer get caught? Here's how his murder spree ended

Dahmer killed at least 17 men and boys over the course of 13 years

jeffrey dahmer in court
(Image credit: Curt Borgwardt/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)

When did Jeffrey Dahmer get caught? How did his horrific killing spree finally end? 

Now that Evan Peters has chosen to play the notorious "Milwaukee Monster" for Ryan Murphy's 10-episode series, Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, everyone has questions. "Is the Jeffrey Dahmer series on Netflix accurate?" "What did Jeffrey Dahmer do, exactly?" "How did he finally get caught?"


Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer

(Image credit: Netflix © 2022)

For those who've begun the Netflix miniseries—and those who are familiar with the story—Dahmer's evildoings took place from 1978 to 1991. He was responsible for the murder of at least 17 men, though some suspect he had actually killed more people. His victims were primarily young, gay African Americans that he brought back to his home, where he offered to take their nude photos in exchange for compensation. When he succeeded in getting his victims back to his apartment, he'd drug them, mutilate them and, at times, eat them.

The law enforcement system in Milwaukee was criticized for the way in which it had dismissed the accusations against Dahmer. According to TIME (opens in new tab), it was accused of failing to properly investigate crimes against minorities. Plus, a probation officer who was supposed to check in on Dahmer after his 10-month prison stay for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy never showed up to his home, which was mandatory. 

Additionally, as we see in the new series, Dahmer's neighbor reportedly tried turning him to the police, but was unsuccessful. (Although the story of Glenda Cleveland was slightly altered for TV, she did try to get everyone to investigate what Dahmer was up to.) 

But one survivor was instrumental in finally ending the horrific acts in July of 1991. 

When did Jeffrey Dahmer get caught?

Dahmer had succeeded in luring Tracy Edwards back to his place for nude photos on July 22, 1991. That's when he had handcuffed him and confessed that he wanted to "eat his heart." He even held Edwards at knifepoint. 

Fortunately, he managed to escape the apartment and caught up with authorities, who returned to Dahmer's residence on that very night. 

Polaroid photo of Jeffrey’s victims

When cops arrived at his apartment—which had a foul stench of rotting human flesh—that's when the cops noticed that Dahmer had a knife beneath his bed and Polaroid pictures of dismembered human bodies. When they took a closer look at the photographs, they realized they were real. Further discoveries in the apartment from the Milwaukee police’s Criminal Investigation Bureau included a human head in the refrigerator, human hearts and skulls, among many others. 

Dahmer was sentenced to 15 consecutive sentences. He served them at Columbia Correctional Institute, where he was killed by another inmate, Christopher Scarver, while cleaning. 

Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is now streaming on Netflix. The three-part docu-series, Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes, will arrive on Netflix on October 7

Danielle Valente

Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, covering all-things news, lifestyle and entertainment. 

The heart of her time at Future has been devoted to My Imperfect Life, where she's been attuned to the cosmos, new TV shows and relationship trends.  

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, amNewYork and Newsday, among other outlets. 

When Danielle is not working, you can usually find her reading a book, coffee at hand, or attempting a new recipe. (Recommendations always welcome!)