Home » Victims Spotlight: Remembering the Victims of “Milwaukee Cannibal” Jeffrey Dahmer

Victims Spotlight: Remembering the Victims of “Milwaukee Cannibal” Jeffrey Dahmer

Jeffrey Dahmer is getting the Netflix treatment. The convicted murderer, necrophile and cannibal is not only getting one show in his honor- but two. While Ryan Murphy’s Dahmer and upcoming documentary series Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes have very different formats, both aim to tell the Jeffrey Dahmer story without glorifying his horrific crimes. Instead, especially in the case of Dahmer, they attempt to call out how white privilege, systemic racism and homophobia within the Wisconsin police department actually helped Jeffrey Dahmer carry on killing for as long as he did. Instead, as is too often the case, Dahmer’s re-introduction into major media headlines has come off as incredibly exploitative and re-traumatizing to his victim’s families.

Eric Perry, who is related to victim Errol Lindsey, took to Twitter on September 22nd to say, “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?”

Insider had a chance to talk with Rita Isbell, Errol Lindsey’s sister, and at one point, she shared that she was never contacted by anyone from Netflix about the series Dahmer; despite her name, likeness and her incredibly passionate impact statement- word for word- being used. “I was never contacted about the show. I feel like Netflix should’ve asked if we mind or how we felt about making it. They didn’t ask me anything. They just did it.” Rita then added, “But I’m not money hungry, and that’s what this show is about, Netflix trying to get paid. I could even understand it if they gave some of the money to the victims’ children. Not necessarily their families. I mean, I’m old. I’m very, very comfortable. But the victims have children and grandchildren. If the show benefited them in some way, it wouldn’t feel so harsh and careless.

With that in mind, let’s take a deeper look at the 17 men Jeffrey Dahmer targeted and whose lives he ruined either by killing them or forcing them to live with the memories of him forevermore.

Steven Mark Hicks

Steven “Steve” Hicks was 18-years-old in June of 1978. Born on June 22nd, 1959, in Canton, Ohio. Steven’s classmates at Coventry High School described him as a kindhearted individual who was known for helping others and making friends almost everywhere he went. Steven’s father, Richard Hicks, described his son as a very caring person in an archived 1991 AP article, “On a hunting trip they took together, Hicks said his son shot a rabbit and ‘was as proud as he could be, and then he bawled his eyes out.’ He said he was proud that his son showed such feeling. It was the last time they went hunting together.” Steven was also a big fan of rock music and was last seen on June 18th, 1978, attempting to hitchhike to a concert taking place in Bath, Ohio.

Steven Walter Tuomi

A native of Ontonagon County, Michigan, Steven Tuomi graduated from Ontonagon Area High School in 1981. By 1987, Steven was 25-years-old and working as a waiter in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Described as lively and cheerful by friends, Steven was known to be quite amicable and eager to meet new people. On November 20th, 1987, Steven worked a shift at his job and was last seen spending part of the night at a bar in West Allis, Wisconsin.

James Edward Doxtator

James Doxtator was known as Jamie to his friends and family. Born on March 1st, 1973, James was only 14-years-old in 1988 but was dealing with a difficult home life. While some publications state that James earned a living for himself as a sex worker, other sources say he ran away from home on January 14th, 1988–just two days before his death–to escape an abusive stepfather. Despite the troubles at home, James’ mother, Debbie, would later describe her son as very independent, cheerful and outgoing with a lot of love to give.

Richard Guerrero

Little is known about the early life and lifestyle of Richard Guerrero. Born on December 12th, 1965, Richard was described as a devoted son who often took his mother shopping and to run errands. Richard was last seen on March 24th, 1988, leaving his family’s home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to go to a friend’s house. He was carrying no identification and only $3 in cash at the time of his disappearance. During his confession, Jeffrey Dahmer stated that Richard agreed to pose for photos for Dahmer during the evening as a way to earn additional money, but this claim has never been substantiated.

In the years following his death, Richard’s family has continued to advocate for him; most notably in 2012 when they spoke out against the Jeffrey Dahmer Tour of Milwaukee.

Anthony Lee Sears

Anthony Spears was last seen on March 25th, 1989, at Milwaukee gay club “La Cage” with friends. The 26-year-old was an aspiring model who kept busy at his job and doting on his girlfriend. Anthony was planning on meeting his mother the following day, March 26th, to celebrate his promotion to manager at the restaurant where he worked.

Raymond Lamont Smith

Little is readily available online about 33-year-old Raymond Smith. Depending on what publication you read, Raymond either went by the nickname Ricky Beeks or Ricky Bix. He earned money as a sex worker and was last seen at a local Milwaukee tavern on May 20th, 1990.

Edward Warren Smith

Edward “Eddie” Smith was known as “Sheik” in his neighborhood for the turban-like head covering he habitually wore. The 27-year-old was a known friend of Jeffrey Dahmer’s and was last seen leaving The Phoenix Bar in Milwaukee on June 14th, 1990.

Ernest Marquez Miller

Born sometime in 1968, Ernest Miller was a talented dance student who worked as a busboy at a hotel in downtown Chicago. Ernest was very close with his family and made a point to attend every family gathering. He was described as a very caring and loving person. He was last seen on September 2nd, 1990.

David Courtney Thomas

22-year-old David Thomas was going through a bit of a rough patch in 1990. At the time of his disappearance, David was on probation for retail theft and was on the outs with his girlfriend of 12-years. David did not have a permanent address although his girlfriend would let him stay from time to time. David and his girlfriend had a 3-year-old daughter he had visited regularly. He reportedly had a habit of disappearing for weeks at a time, so David’s family was not immediately worried when they could not get in contact with him. David Thomas was last seen in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 24th, 1990.

Curtis Durrell Straughter

Curtis Straughter was, by all accounts, full of life and full of energy. By 17-years of age, Curtis had graduated from high school, worked for a time as a nursing assistant, was an active member of Gay Youth Milwaukee, and was attending classes at Marquette University. He was last seen on February 18th, 1991.

Errol Lindsey

Errol Lindsey was only 19-years-old when he was last seen on April 7th, 1991. He was sent out on an errand to get a key cut. Errol was described as an upstanding citizen and generous to a fault. The former choir boy had a close group of friends and was devoted to his family. He was especially close with his sister and mother.

Tony Anthony Hughes

Anthony “Tony” Hughes was 31-years-old in 1991 and was very active in the Milwaukee gay community. Due to the side effects of medication he was given as a baby, Anthony was deaf and communicated with people by writing on a notepad.  A recent graduate of Wisconsin School for the Deaf, Anthony was living in Madison, Wisconsin, and was perusing a modeling career. On May 24th, 1991, during a trip to visit his family, Anthony was last seen dancing the night away at a local Milwaukee gay bar.

Konerak Sinthasomphone

The Sinthasomphone family fled Laos in March of 1979 in hopes of a better life for their children. Despite some of the older Sinthasomphone family members going on to have successful careers, Konerak’s parents still struggled financially so Konerak and his older brother tried to help making money with odd jobs. Allegedly this included sex work. Konerak Sinthasomphone was last seen on May 27th, 1991. He was only 14-years-old.

Matt Cleveland Turner

Matt Cleveland Turner, 20, was last seen at a bus stop in Chicago after attending the Chicago Pride Parade on June 30th, 1991. At the time of his disappearance Matt worked at a pizzeria. He was described by friends as adventurous and outgoing.

Jeremiah Benjamin Weinberger

23-year-old Jeremiah Weinberger was of Jewish and Puerto Rican descent. At the time of his disappearance, he was working as a customer service representative. Jeremiah was last seen on July 5th, 1991, at Carols Speakeasy Bar in  Chicago. 

Oliver Joseph Lacy

Originally from Chicago, Illinois, 24-year-old Oliver Lacy was working as a custodian in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1991. A fitness enthusiast, Oliver was a former sprinter and an aspiring body builder and was described by friends as down-to-earth. Oliver was last seen on July 15th, 1991.

Joseph Arthur Bradehoft

Joseph Bradehoft was a 25-year-old father of three. Born on January 24th, 1966, Joseph was raised in a large family in his home state of Minnesota. At some point, Joseph was married to a woman named Cheryl, the assumed mother of his children, and was living with her in West Virginia until April of 1990. He was staying with his parents for a time and some reports suggest Joseph and his wife tried to rekindle their relationship. But, by all accounts, they were not together when Joseph moved in with his brother in Milwaukee. At the time of his disappearance, he was working as a painter. Described as very trusting and a big fan of beer, Joseph was last seen in the Milwaukee area on July 19th, 1991.

Research Sources:

Jeffrey Dahmer’s Wikipedia Page 

Vanity Fair’s 1991 Article: Dahmer’s Inferno

Newspapers.com

The Doe Network

NCMEC

Find a Grave

The Charley Project

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Written by Fallon Gannon
True Crime stuff. Way too much coffee. Great with other dogs.
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