Walking tour of Dahmer`s murders to continue, amid outrage - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Walking tour of Jeffrey Dahmer`s murders to continue, amid outrage

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Protesters disrupt first Dahmer Tour. (Fox 6 Milwaukee) Protesters disrupt first Dahmer Tour. (Fox 6 Milwaukee)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

When you think of Milwaukee, you're probably reminded of brewery tours, fish fries and Summerfest, but there's a new attraction in town that explores a much darker side of the city's history: serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.

The Jeffrey Dahmer walking tour got underway last year amidst a great deal of controversy from victim's families who called it exploitive to chamber of commerce types who said it soiled Milwaukee's image. Despite the upset by some, it proved to be enough of a commercial success that tour operators say they're starting up again in a couple weeks.

Bob Weiss and Amanda Morden say their company's Jeffrey Dahmer walking tour was such a success in its inaugural season that they plan to add a second weekly tour this year.

"What they're going to get is roughly a one mile walk through Milwaukee through the areas that were the hunting grounds for Jeffrey Dahmer," Weiss explains.

"We did very well," Morden adds. "We had a plethora of people from all over the place coming through. We had psychology professors, history professors, students, people matriculating to the FBI who were actually using the tour as part of their course load."

The tour covers the Walkers Point neighborhood just south of downtown Milwaukee where Dahmer picked up many of his 17 victims in gay bars. In 1991, police arrested Dahmer after finding body parts, including human heads, inside his Milwaukee apartment. Some of the victims had been cannibalized.

Dahmer was convicted in 1992 then beaten to death in a Wisconsin prison two years later. The tour's operators say it's a grisly piece of Milwaukee history that can't be ignored.

"You go out of town and they say you're from Milwaukee. It's not the land of the beer barons. It's not Laverne and Shirley. That's where Dahmer is from," Morden says. "It's Jeffrey Dahmer and it's unfortunate on some levels, but you can't bury your head in the sand and pretend it never happened."

Relatives of Dahmer's victims protested the first couple tours last year. Jamie Hagen and other family members of Dahmer victim Richard Guerrero say it's nothing more than cashing in on tragedy.

"I'm here today to speak for my brother," Hagen announced at last year's protest. "That I love him and I miss him and we're not gonna put up with people like this."

With Guerrero's family just steps away, the tour guide described the night Dahmer met Guerrero just outside Club 219, where Dahmer drugged him and strangled him to death.

When asked how she responds to those who say her tour is sensationalizing an awful event and capitalizing on a tragedy, Morden says, "it is not a sensationalist tour. It's is not designed that way."

"History is history and we have gone to pains to make sure we are historically correct and very accurate with the tour," says Weiss.

Most of the bars where Dahmer picked up his victims are out of business and the buildings are now empty and locked. Dahmer's apartment building has also been torn down. Now, there's just grass and a tall wrought iron fence. Ambrosia Chocolates, where Dahmer worked, has been replaced with a parking lot.

There are no memorials, no plaques, and no parks remembering the victims, as their families had wished.

"We proposed funding a plaque and putting it in a space that's available," Morden says. "Land in this area to memorialize the victims and it was just shot down."

Morden says the city shot down her proposal for a plaque because they'd rather, "bury their head in the sand and pretend it never happened."

Dahmer also hunted for his victims in Chicago, picking up at least two men, then offering them money to travel to Milwaukee with him by bus where they were killed.

The walking tours will be held every Saturday night starting in March. A Friday night tour will also be added during the summer.

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