Like the boy in Aesop’s fable who raised a false alarm to alleviate his boredom, Milwaukee police ascribed a similar motive to Glenda Cleveland’s repeated calls. She continuously tried to alert the police about the wolf was Jeffrey Dahmer, brutally dismembering his victims and eating their flesh. Sadly all the frantic calls and screaming went in vain. The Milwaukee police dismissed her calls thinking it was her bit to garner attention. The police refused to lodge her complaints and never even bothered to check once. Meanwhile, the monster had already devoured several victims in the apartment next to her. The Jeffrey Dahmer Glenda Cleveland story is indeed a heart breaking one.
The portrayal of Jeffrey Dahmer and Glenda Cleveland in the popular Netflix docu-drama
Ever since Netflix released the docu-drama series Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story in 2022, it has become one of the highest-viewed series in the world. The intense portrayal of the real-life monster by Peter Evans (actor) has captivated the imagination of audiences across the globe. Even those who are traditionally not inclined to watch crime thrillers have watched it unblinkingly. So extraordinary has been the storytelling in the docuseries, it has forced people to re-evaluate their views on race relations in a new light. It was in the early 90s that Dahmer was finally caught, but the gruesome trail of murders he committed somehow exposed the fragile race relations in America and the perils of ghettoization.
Most of Dahmer’s victims were black and Asian minorities. One of them was Konerak Sinthasomphone, the 14-year-old Asian boy who was murdered in the most brutal way possible. What was even worse was the fact that the police returned the boy to his doorstep! Had they listened to the visibly distraught Glenda Cleveland, the Sinthasomphones wouldn’t have had to go through the grief of losing their son.
Explaining the importance of Glenda Cleveland in the Jeffrey Dahmer story
Whenever someone reflects on the Dahmer story, they would realize that the names Jeffrey Dahmer and Glenda Cleveland are intricately attached to each other. She was his nemesis in a way as she was instrumental in getting Dahmer arrested and getting him convicted. So how did this seemingly unassuming woman hello unearth such a grisly crime?
- The smell of decomposing flesh!
As the Netflix docudrama so poignantly showed, after Dahmer was done killing his victims he would get rid of the corpse by putting the dismembered pieces into acid. He would also put the heads in his fridge or closet. This would emit a foul smell which was an assault on the olfactory senses of Glenda Cleveland as she lived close by. She complained to the police and the building supervisor but to no avail.
- The sound of heavy equipment
Then there was the sound of whirring equipment like the electric saw which would suddenly go on in the dead of the night. Glenda would hear these sounds with horror that would often be accompanied by a loud thud, making her worst nightmares come true. What was even worse is the fact that even such drastic incidents went unheeded.
- The screams of Dahmer’s victims
If the smell of decomposing flesh and the buzzing sound of electric saws weren’t enough, Glenda even heard the screams of the poor victims. Victims who were real people, who had hopes and aspirations, who were reduced to a mere statistic. Glenda was scared to death for her own life yet she never failed to do her part, howsoever ineffective it was. She screamed at the top of her lungs calling attention to these heinous crimes but was ignored every time. Why? Because she was black!
- The Sinthasomphone tragedy
Perhaps the most tragic incident in this entire Dahmer saga was the fate of that poor 14-year-old Laotian boy Konerak Sinthasomphone. He was drugged by Dahmer and about to be killed but somehow the boy managed to escape. Glenda saw all this and dutifully informed the police. But the police officers on patrol that day believed Dahmer instead. They escorted the boy right to the doors of hell!
- Organizing a pressure group
The Sinthasomphone tragedy was perhaps the last straw that forced the law authorities to actually realize the gravity of the situation. Not too long after Konerak was killed, Dahmer’s evil deeds finally caught up with him when one man who would otherwise have been his 18th victim, managed to escape his evil dungeon. Dahmer was caught and his evil lair was exposed. The police and the authorities came to realize that Glenda was right all along. After this incident, Glenda mobilized the victim’s families and managed to bring the community to put pressure on the law enforcement agencies to bring the murderer to justice.
The grisly murder of 17 Black and Asian men by Jeffrey Dahmer, the notorious serial killer, is not just about isolated murder cases. It was also about troubled race relations and the fragmented society. All this was depicted beautifully in Netflix’s Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story and Dahmer was played to perfection by Peter Evans (actor). However, it was the role of Glenda Cleveland brilliantly brought to the screen by Niecy Nash that made the show so interesting. Her heartrending story is what has inspired many to stand firm in their beliefs and do what is right whether people pay heed or not.