Tracy Edwards Had A Complicated Life After He Led To Jeffrey Dahmer's Capture

One of America's most gruesome serial killers, Jeffrey Dahmer, sexually assaulted and murdered 17 men and teen boys (that we know of) and then, as Biography reports, committed acts of necrophilia against their corpses, dismembered them and preserved some of their body parts. And in the fall of 2022, Dahmer's crimes were revisited when Netflix released "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" which, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, takes a few liberties with the facts.

Milwaukee police had at least one chance to stop Dahmer that they completely bungled. As Marquette University explains, via a 1991 Milwaukee Sentinel report, in one case a teenage boy escaped Dahmer's apartment, and neighbors begged police for help, only for the boy to be taken back to the killer's home — the neighbors told to stay out of it.

Fortunately, Dahmer was ultimately taken down thanks to another victim who escaped. Tracy Edwards is considered Dahmer's last victim. Unfortunately, though he escaped the serial killer, he did not escape a life of tragedy and crime.

Tracy Edwards' Escape

The night of July 22, 1991, would be the last night during which Jeffrey Dahmer victimized anyone. As The L.A. Times reports, Tracy Edwards would later testify that on that night, he met Dahmer and was offered money and beer to pose for nude photographs. However, Dahmer's demeanor soon changed from the friendly and jovial fellow who lured Edwards to his home, to a disturbed killer. Edwards said that Dahmer forced him to lie on the floor while threatening him with a knife, saying he (Dahmer) was going to eat Edwards' heart.

At some point, Dahmer left the handcuffed Edwards and went to another room to, apparently, psych himself up by watching "Exorcist III," while rocking back and forth and chanting. Edwards at some point managed to distract Dahmer and hit him, and then ran outside. There, handcuffs hanging from his wrist, he flagged down a passing police car. This time, the police took the matter seriously and investigated.

Inside Dahmer's apartment, according to Biography, they found the knife Dahmer had used, as well as Polaroid pictures of other Dahmer victims. They also found the preserved remains of some of his victims in his refrigerator, and thus opened up the first chapter in what would be one of the most salacious stories in American serial killer history.

The Immediate Aftermath

Though he was hailed as a hero when he helped break open the Jeffrey Dahmer case, in the months and years following his role in the events, Tracy Edwards just kind of drifted, often spending lengthy periods of time in homelessness, according to Fox News. "[Edwards] abused drugs and drank alcohol excessively. He had no home. He just drifted from place to place," said his lawyer, Paul Ksicinski, who also added that the events "destroyed his life" and that Edwards was never able to rebuild his life following his brush with Dahmer. Ksicinski also added that he suspects that his client suffered from PTSD afterward.

Edwards would later turn up to testify against his would-be murderer in Dahmer's criminal trial, as The L.A. Times reported in 1992. But when the families of Dahmer's victims took civil action against him, Edwards didn't show up to the trial. "My personal belief is he didn't because he'd have to remember what happened," Ksicinski said.

Edwards' Lengthy Criminal Career

It's unclear where Edwards was born or where he spent his formative years, but it's known for certain that, before his run-in with Jeffrey Dahmer, he had lived in or near Tupelo, Mississippi. As The New York Post reports, it was in that city that he had been arrested for sexual battery involving an underage girl. Somehow he managed to elude the justice apparatus in the Magnolia State and instead he made his way to Milwaukee. However, when his name started popping up in the news, Mississippi officials became aware of where their wanted man was, and he was extradited back to Tupelo to face the charges.

After doing his time, Edwards returned to Milwaukee, where over the next couple of decades he continued to have run-ins with the law. He was arrested for drug possession, property damage, theft, failure to pay child support, and a host of similar crimes. However, his most serious criminal charges came about in 2011, 20 years after he became a key figure in bringing down Jeffrey Dahmer.

The Bridge Incident And After

In July 2011, as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported at the time, Edwards was involved in an incident that resulted in a man's drowning death. Specifically, Edwards, who was homeless at the time, and another man (later identified by The Associated Press as Timothy Carr) man got into a verbal altercation with a man named Johnny Jordan, who fell from the bridge and drowned. Or perhaps he was thrown; either way, prosecutors initially charged Edwards with homicide, according to the New York Post. However, according to the AP, he later took a plea deal in which he pleaded guilty to aiding a felon, and he was sentenced to one and a half years.

How much time Edwards served is unclear, but according to Novia Scotia Today, he was sentenced to two years probation following the prison stint. Also unclear is what happened to him afterward, as this appears to be the last anyone ever heard from him, according to Oxygen, which notes his whereabouts are unknown as of October 2022. If he's still alive, he would be about 63 years old, according to Nova Scotia Today.