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Former reporter who covered Dahmer’s crimes reacts to never-before-heard recordings: No idea these existed

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More than three decades ago, one of America’s most notorious serial killers was arrested and later convicted in the horrific murder of 17 men and boys. Jeffrey Dahmer’s crimes have been widely discussed and studied, but new never-before-heard audio tapes are bringing to light new information about the killer. 

The recordings have even shocked those closely connected to the case.

“There were a lot of us that have been very close to this case that had no idea that these tapes even existed. It’s just incredible this many years later to find a new piece of information. I was most struck when I listened to the tapes. For the first time, people are finally going to get a little bit of a feel about the person that is Jeffrey Dahmer by hearing him talk in his own words,” Former Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Anne Schwartz said on “America’s Newsroom” Friday. 

NEVER-BEFORE-HEARD AUDIO TAPES OF JEFFREY DAHMER, FATHER BRING NEW INSIGHT INTO INFAMOUS KILLER’S CRIMES

Schwartz was one of the first reporters on the scene at Dahmer’s Milwaukee apartment where police arrested the killer in 1991. At the crime scene, officials found several decapitated human heads and numerous dismembered bodies.

Dahmer, a sex offender, committed the rape, murder and dismemberment of 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. Many of his later murders involved necrophilia, cannibalism and the preservation of body parts.

“What’s incredible is that we’re still talking about this case 32 years later, which is amazing. It’s hard to think about the fact that there’s something brand new,” Schwartz said, who is also featured in FOX Nation’s “My Son Jeffrey: The Dahmer Family Tapes.”

The serial killer’s truly horrific modus operandi was brought to light further during his trial where he was convicted of 15 killings in Wisconsin. According to prosecutors, there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him with the 16th slaying. He also pleaded guilty to the Ohio murder of a hitchhiker in 1978.

The 34-year-old was serving 15 consecutive life terms in 1994 when he was bludgeoned to death by fellow inmate Christopher Scarver.

JEFFREY DAHMER’S FATHER TELLS KILLER SON ‘YOU’RE JUST LIKE ME’ IN NEVER-BEFORE-HEARD PRISON CONVOS

Lionel Dahmer recorded the conversations with Jeffrey while the killer was serving his 957-year prison sentence at the Columbia Correctional Institution. The concerned father hoped the conversations would help him understand how his son became the cannibal killer.

“What I heard when I heard the tapes is, I heard a father trying to somehow let himself off the hook for not knowing that all of these things were happening with his son while they were living under the same roof,” Schwartz said. 

FOX Nation’s “My Son Jeffrey: The Dahmer Family Tapes” explores these audio recordings only recently made public and Dahmer family videos to dive deeper into the making of a murderer. 

Schwartz noted, while the tapes do give further insight, Dahmer was aware the conversations were being recorded.

“Even though he’s speaking in his own words, remember that he’s aware that his father is recording him. And there’s a small piece in the recording that we cover in the series where Lionel asked him a question – I can’t remember specifically about what – and Jeffrey responds, ‘Well, maybe we can talk about that when we’re not doing this.’ And that’s what this tiny little insight into the serial killer who was maybe searching in some small way for a little bit of a connection with his father,” she said.

JEFFREY DAHMER’S FORMER CLASSMATE ON LEARNING OF THE KILLER’S CRIMES: ‘I COULDN’T FATHOM WHAT I WAS READING’

When asked about scrutiny Lionel has faced related to whether he knew about Jeffrey’s behavior, Schwartz responded, “there’s always that hindsight.”

“We see it a lot, I do a lot of work with law enforcement. We see it a lot there where people say, ‘how could you not have known?’ But we know now, because of the entirety of all of the information we have now, we have to look at back then,” she said.

“So what’s the difference between little Jeffrey Dahmer, who asks his dad, the chemist, ‘Hey, dad, can we skin these animals? Would you show me how to do this?’ And the kid who becomes a taxidermist or the kid who becomes a veterinarian. The go-to a suspicion was not, ‘I bet my kid’s a serial killer.'”

The Dahmer case continues to captivate audiences because of its gruesome and incomprehensible nature, but Schwartz noted the curiosity has also continued to impact the victims’ families. 

“These victims families have been reliving this case for every minute of the 32 years since the discovery was made in Jeffrey Dahmer’s Milwaukee apartment,” she said.

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“The families have not been happy with a lot of the coverage. My understanding, preliminarily, is that they were, I don’t want to say pleased, but they were not as offended by the FOX Nation piece as they have been about other pieces of coverage on this particular case. They really feel that the victims have been lost in the coverage of this case.”

The victims of Dahmer’s 17 murders were Steven Hicks, Steven Tuomi, Jamie Doxtator, Richard Guerrero, Anthony Sears, Ricky Beeks, Eddie Smith, Ernest Miller, David Thomas, Curtis Straughter, Errol Lindsey, Anthony Hughes, Konerak Sinthasomphone, Matt Turner, Jeremiah Weinberger, Oliver Lacy and Joseph Bradehoft.

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FOX News’ Stephanie Nolasco contributed to this report.

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