David Thomas was twenty-three years old. He was part of a close-knit family and had a girlfriend and two children. On the twenty-fourth of September, 1990, a couple of relatives dropped him off at a local shopping centre. He never came home.
It later turned out that David ran into Jeffrey Dahmer at that shopping centre. Somehow, the killer managed to convince him to come back to his flat with him. While they were there, Dahmer slipped his guest a drink laced with powdered sleeping pills. David fell asleep, at which point Dahmer was faced with a dilemma: now that he had his victim unconscious and at his mercy, he didn’t really find him as attractive as he had at the mall-the exact words he would later use would run along the lines of “he wasn’t my type.” Also, he had fears that Mr. Thomas would be understandably displeased upon waking up and discovering that he had been drugged. He might even have beaten up his attacker (which would have been a far more fitting ending to the situation). So, he killed him.
But he didn’t dispose of the body right away. No, he went really overboard with the dismemberment process-he took photos of the man before, during and after cutting him up (one particualarly gruesome sample is currently floating around the web), and may even have made a video of the process. As a matter of fact, his sister identified him as a victim from these photographs-the body (or what remained of it) was disposed of eventually, most likely acidified and flushed down the toilet.
In the intervening period between David’s death and Dahmer being apprehended, the Thomas family spent many a sleepless night, worrying themselves sick. They had a habit of telling each other where they were going and when they were coming back, and it was an ominous sign when Mr. Thomas seemed to pull a disappearing act. They at first thought that he’d had a disagreement with them and just wanted to take some time out, or that he’d maybe left the area to pursue a career in rap, but gradually their hope turned to dread. Their worst fears were confirmed when Jeff confessed. At the trial, a heartbroken Inez Thomas, the victim’s mother, told Dahmer, “That was my baby boy you took away from me.”
I felt a great deal of pity towards Mrs. Thomas when I watched a clip from that part of the trial. She appeared quite vulnerable, and yet she was able to look calmly into the glassy eyes of the Milwaukee Monster and tell him exactly what he had done, whilst he stared down at the floor, unable to meet her gaze. She may have stood a foot below Jeff and weighed half what he did, but by God that woman was braver than twenty of him put together. I hope that she’s alright, wherever she is.
One last thing: Dahmer stated that he killed poor David because he “wasn’t his type.” A pity he didn’t stop to consider what the world would be like if everyone did the same to the people they weren’t attracted to. Why, Jeff himself was no great looker-he had a cruel pout of a mouth, a chin shaped like a baby’s bottom, and his Adam’s apple jutted out of his neck at a forty-five degree angle. He would’ve been killed before the age of fiteen, if everyone went by his logic. And I’d have been first in line.
Rest in peace, Mr. Thomas.