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Investigators Find Bones Near Dahmer’s Boyhood Home

July 31, 1991

BATH, Ohio (AP) _ Investigators found more than 50 pieces of bone near Jeffrey L. Dahmer’s boyhood home Tuesday as they searched for remains of a man who may have been his first victim.

In Milwaukee, police said Dahmer now has confessed to 17 slayings.

The bone pieces were found as investigators raked debris from the ground on the first day of their search of the property in Bath Township, an Akron suburb, said Summit County Coroner William A. Cox.

He said as many as 70 percent of the bones were human, and some appeared to be skull fragments.

″We may very well be able to put together who those bones belong to,″ Cox said at a news conference.

Dahmer told authorities that Steven Mark Hicks was hitchhiking to a rock concert in 1978 when he accepted a ride to the house. There, Dahmer strangled Hicks with a barbell and dismembered him, authorities said.

Dahmer said he buried and dug up Hicks’ remains several times, ultimately scraping the flesh off, smashing the bones to bits with a hammer and scattering them in a ravine between his parents’ land and two other properties. He drew authorities a map of the heavily wooded, 1.7-acre property.

Summit County Sheriff David Troutman said the bone pieces were found where Dahmer told authorities they would be, in a tree-covered, rocky area behind the house.

″Jeffrey Dahmer has been very truthful in what he has related to us and Milwaukee police,″ Troutman said.

Cox said investigators also found blood and bone fragments in a crawl space under the house where Dahmer may have dismembered the body.

Investigators planned to resume the search Wednesday and continue it at least through Friday.

Cox said authorities hope to extract genetic material from the bone fragments to determine whether it’s similar to the genetic makeup of blood from Hicks’ parents. He investigators also could compare it with pieces of Hicks’ hair that his parents saved.

Such ″genetic fingerprinting″ involves examining human tissue to determine a genetic code unique in nearly every person, much like fingerprints. The pattern is found in DNA - deoxyribonucleic acid - which forms the basic material in chromosomes of the cell nucleus.

Milwaukee police said Dahmer, in whose apartment parts of 11 bodies were found July 22, has now confessed to 17 slayings.

″One is in Bath. The rest are here,″ Milwaukee Police Capt. Donald F. Domagalski said.

Police also released the names of two more victims in the Milwaukee area: Richard Guerrero, 25, of Milwaukee, who disappeared in 1988, and David C. Thomas, 23, of Milwaukee, a father of two who was reported missing Sept. 24.

So far, 15 victims have been identified.

Court records say Dahmer confessed that he lured men to his Milwaukee apartment to take nude photos, drugged them and strangled them. He took pictures of the victims in various stages of mutilation and boiled some of their skulls, authorities said.

He had sex with some victims, including one after death, and told police he kept one victim’s heart in a freezer to eat later, court records say.

Dahmer apparently didn’t have accomplices, Milwaukee Police Lt. Vincent Vitale said Tuesday.

He added that no pattern of cannibalism exists. ″It wasn’t every person he killed since 1978 he was consuming,″ Vitale said.

Domagalski declined to release details about Thomas’ death.

West Allis Police Chief John Butorak said Guerrero was a man Dahmer admitted killed while living with his grandmother in West Allis, a suburb southwest of Milwaukee.

Police believe three victims were killed at the grandmother’s house but remains of only one victim were found. Butorak said police doubt the two bodies are at the grandmother’s house or that the grandmother knew about the killings.

″She’s not involved in the investigation. She’s an 87-year-old lady going through a very hard time,″ Butorak said.

Meanwhile, about 150 relatives and friends attended a memorial service for Tony Hughes, a 31-year-old deaf man missing since May 24. His remains were found in Dahmer’s apartment.

″God never gave Tony hearing, but he never handicapped him at all,″ Zo Ann Lambert-Williams, a cousin, said in a eulogy.

Throughout the morning in Bath, several people from the neighborhood stopped in front of Dahmer’s boyhood house trying to get a glimpse of the activity. Sounds of weed cutters and rakes could be heard in the distance.

Across the street, children sold lemonade.

Tracy Stone, 21, who lives nearby, jogged past the house with her mother.

″I can understand why the media was here, but it’s the curiosity-seekers I can’t understand,″ she said. ″It’s like they’re getting joy out of someone else’s pain.

″In another two weeks, though, Bath will just be another shadow on the map.″

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