If you’ve watched Monster: The Jefrrey Dahmer Story, you may be wondering: where is Glenda Cleveland now and what happened to Jeffrey Dahmer’s neighbor who tried to stop his murders but was ignored by police?
Dahmer—also known as the Milwaukee Cannibal and the Milwaukee Monster—was an American serial killer and sex offender who murdered and dismembered 17 men and boys in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area between 1978 to 1991. Dahmer earned his nickname as the Milwaukee Cannibal after police found that many of his murders involved necrophilia (the sexual act with a corpse), cannibalism (the act of humans eating another human) and the preservation of his victims’ body parts, usually their skeletons. Dahmer, who was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and schizotypal personality disorder, was convicted of 15 of the 16 murders he committed in Wisconsin and was sentenced to 15 terms of life imprisonment on February 17, 1992. Dahmer was sentenced to a 16th term of life imprisonment in 1978 for another murder he committed in Ohio. Dahmer died on November 28, 1994 after he was beaten to death by Christopher Scarver, a fellow inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin.
Since his death, Dahmer has become the inspiration for several TV shows, movies and documentaries, including Netflix’s 2022 drama series, Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, in which he’s played by American Horror Story alum Evan Peters. In an interview with Netflix in September 2022, Peters explained why the serial killer was the hardest role he’d ever played. “I was very scared about all of the things that Dahmer did, and diving into that and trying to commit to [playing this character] was absolutely going to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life because I wanted it to be very authentic.” Peters said. “But in order to do that, I was going to have to go to really dark places and stay there for an extended period of time.”
He continued, “I have to say that the crew was instrumental in keeping me on the guard rails, I cannot thank them enough and I could not have done any of this role with them…It was a challenge to try to have this person who was seemingly so normal but underneath all of it, had this entire world that he was keeping secret from everybody.” “It was so jaw-dropping that it all really happend. It felt important to be respectful to the victims and to the victims’ families to try to tell the story as authentically as we could.” Dahmer is also the subject of Netflix’s 2022 docuseries, Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes.
Glenda Cleveland, Dahmer’s neighbor, is played by Niecy Nash in Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, which shows how Cleveland was one of the few people who suspected Dahmer of his crimes but was ignored by police. So…where is Glenda Cleveland now and what happened to Jeffrey Dahmer’s neighbor after his arrest? Read on for what we know about where Glenda Cleveland is now.
Where is Glenda Cleveland now?
Where is Glenda Cleveland now? Cleveland was Jeffrey Dahmer’s neighbor and lived in the apartment building next to the Oxford Apartments at 924 North 25th Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Dahmer lived in unit 213. Cleveland was one of nine children and was raised on a farm in Mississippi. “I don’t see any excuse for people not caring for other people,” she told a reporter in 1991.
Cleveland called the police on Dahmer on May 27, 1991, when her daughter, Sandra Smith, and her niece, Nicole Childress, saw 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone fleeing from Dahmer in an alley near their apartments. “Are you sure?” Cleveland asked the officers when they told her they believed Dahmer’s story that Sinthasomphone was his 19-year-old boyfriend and he was running away from him because they were in the middle of an argument. A few days later, when she saw Sinthasomphone’s picture in a newspaper article about his disappearance, Cleveland called the police again, but she didn’t hear a response. Cleveland call the police, including the FBI, on Dahmer several times while living as his neighbor, but each time, she was ignored. Five of Dahmer’s 17 murders, including Sinthasomphone, came after Cleveland called the police on him. “I just want to get back to normal,” she told reporters who called and showed up at her home after Dahmer’s arrest, according to USA Today.
So…where is Glenda Cleveland now? Cleveland died on December 24, 2011. She was 56 years old. There was no funeral, though there was a memorial service in the spring of 2012, where Cleveland’s friends and family traveled to Milwaukee from her birth state of Mississippi. Cleveland’s body was found by Milwaukee officers after they received a tip from neighbors who were concerned after not seeing her for a few days. The officers entered Cleveland’s apartment and found her body on the floor. The Milwaukee medical examiner’s office determined that Cleveland died of natural causes from heart disease and blood pressure. Cleveland’s daughter, Sandra Smith, blamed Cleveland’s cigarette addiction for the cause of her mother’s death, according to USA Today. USA TODAY also reported that Cleveland’s family would often ask why she didn’t move out of her apartment near Dahmer’s when he was arrested on July 22, 1991. “Why don’t you move away from that house on haunted hill?” one of her brothers would ask, to which Cleveland would respond, “I’m not going anywhere.”
Cleveland lived at the apartment on the corner of 25th Street and Kilbourn Avenue until 2009 until she moved to an apartment less than a mile away at 32nd Street and Wisconsin Avenue. Cleveland worked at a data entry job until it was eliminated several years before her death. After the role was eliminated, Sleveland retired. She helped care for her daughter Sandra’s nine children. (Sandra, who was Cleveland’s only child, worked as a nurse on Milwaukee’s south side.) Cleveland also stayed in contact with the Sinthasomphone family and even attended one of their son’s weddings. Sandra told USA Today that Cleveland would sometimes be recognized for her association with Dahmer, but her mother wouldn’t often talk about the case. “I try not to think about it because it should have been different,” she said. “A lot of things could have been prevented. I try not to dwell on that.”
Cleveland’s brother, Thomas Smith, also told USA Today that he remembered watching a news report on TV about Cleveland with his co-workers. “I would tell them, ‘That’s my baby sister,’” he said. After Dahmer’s arrest, Reverend Jesse Jackson, visited Cleveland in Milwaukee. “Police chose the word of a killer over an innocent woman,” he said at the time, referencing how police believed Dahmer, who was white, over Cleveland, who was Black. Since Dahmer’s arrest, Cleveland has been honored by the Common Council and the County Board and Milwaukee’s Mayor John Norquist. Her daughter, Sandra, told USA Today that some of Cleveland’s plaques still hung in her apartment at the time of her death.
For more about Jeffrey Dahmer, check out Jack Rosewood’s Jeffrey Dahmer: A Terrifying True Story of Rape, Murder & Cannibalism. The biography—which is a part of Rosewood’s The Serial Killer Books series—tells the true-crime story of Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer, a serial killer who terrorized Milwaukee, Wisconsin and murdered more than a dozen people (not to mention committed acts of necrophilia and cannibalism) throughout the 1980s until his eventual arrest in 1991. The book explains how Dahmer, who had an above-average intellect and is described as “conventionally good-looking,” was able to fool everyone around him, including his family, his neighbors and the police, to avoid capture for so many years. Jeffrey Dahmer: A Terrifying True Story of Rape, Murder & Cannibalism also takes readers through Dahmer’s murder trial, his death at the hands of his fellow inmates and how his crimes rocked Milwaukee for decades to come.
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