Jeffrey Dahmer’s latest potential victim, who escaped and led police to the twisted serial killer’s lair, was thrust back into the spotlight after Netflix’s widely-watched miniseries ‘Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” – but despite the end of the patient’s trip, the man hailed as a hero lived a tragic life.
Tracy Edwards became a national name in 1991 after leading Milwaukee cops to the remains of Dahmer’s 17 dismembered victims, ending a decade of cannibalistic homicides that shocked the country.
But Edwards’ life quickly spiraled out of control and he was accused of killing a man nearly two decades to the day after surviving the tragic fate himself.
“It’s like Humpty Dumpty,” his lawyer Paul Ksicinski told ABC News in 2011. “It’s like he’s never been able to put the pieces back together.”
The Netflix account of Dahmer’s gruesome crimes begins with a dramatized version of Edwards’ escape from the cannibal killer’s apartment on the night of July 22, 1991, after being lured in by the promise of beer and cash.
After fleeing the house of horrors, a handcuffed Edwards flags down a passing patrol car on the street and tells officers that Dahmer had tried to kill him.
He then led police to the apartment, where investigators discovered preserved human heads, mutilated body parts and photographs of mutilated men.
The re-enactment drew heavily on Edwards’ testimony, which was broadcast by Court TV during Dahmer’s closely watched trial in 1992.
“He listened to my heart [at knifepoint] because then he told me he was going to eat my heart out,” Edwards told the court coldly.
However, the brave survivor’s new ad caught the attention of police at his birthplace in Tupelo Mississippi, where he had been charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl.
The then 32-year-old was extradited to the south to face the charges.
Upon returning to Milwaukee, Edwards racked up arrests for drug possession, theft, property damage, non-payment of child support and skipped bail – while living in and out of homeless shelters, reported ABC.
On July 26, 2011, nearly twenty years to the day since he was hailed a hero for escaping Dahmer and leading cops to his victims, Edwards himself was charged with murder.
He and another homeless man were charged with pushing a third man who lived across the street off a bridge into the Milwaukee River. The victim, Jonny Jordan, died before first responders arrived, the network reported in 2011.
Edwards was charged with homicide and pleaded guilty to aiding a criminal – a deal that earned him a one-and-a-half-year sentence reduction, according to WITI-TV.
The whereabouts of the now 63-year-old man are unknown, despite recent renewed interest in his life.
Yet Shaun Brown, who portrayed Edwards in the Netflix hit, took to Twitter to share his feelings about the man he played – insisting he had ‘so much love’ for him and the other victims.
“I have so much love for Tracy Edwards and I hope that through my portrait you will love her too”, Brown wrote.
“I hope you have love for all the victims and maybe over time you will have more love for each other. Empathy and awareness can create heaven on Earth if we Let’s allow it. We are one. We are all beings made of stardust. Much love to you all.”
Dahmer – who confessed to killing 17 men and boys since 1978 and was convicted in 1992 – was beaten to death by a fellow inmate in 1994.