'Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story': How killer's neighbor Glenda Cleveland tried to warn cops about him
Cleveland's daughter Sandra Smith and niece Nicole Childress saw a naked, bleeding, and incoherent teenage boy running away from Dahmer
Warning: This content contains a recollection of crime and can be triggering to some, readers' discretion is advised.
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN: Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer, also known as the Milwaukee Cannibal or the Milwaukee Monster, is one of the most famous and gruesome serial killers America has ever seen. The sex offender went on to kill and dismember at least seventeen men and boys between 1978 and 1991. While people still debate if he could have been stopped, a member of the community who was living ridiculously close to Dahmer became concerned about his actions way before anyone.
Glenda Cleveland was a neighbor of the serial killer and can also be seen in the recent Netflix mini-series 'Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story'. She is being played by Niecy Nash. In the show's trailer, we can see Dahmer offering Cleveland a sandwich which she refuses. From a report back in 2011, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel claims that the serial killer could have been caught if Cleveland and her warnings were taken seriously. Cleveland, along with her daughters, tried to warn the police of Dahmer's killings but were paid no attention. Cleveland even questioned the police when a 14-year-old boy was seen escaping Dahmer's house. The police initially claimed that a dazed and naked boy trying to escape from Dahmer was actually an adult involved in a lovers' quarrel with him, which Cleveland questioned a lot of times.
Cleveland explained daughter, Sandra Smith, and her niece, Nicole Childress, had spotted the boy fleeing from the serial killer's house in an alley on May 27, 1991, and that he didn't speak English. It wasn't until the crime had already happened that the 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone eventually became Dahmer's victim. Anoukone Sinthasomphone, Konerak's brother, told AP news back then, "We thought it likely that he was in there. The whole thing is crazy. It is terrible. ... I don’t know what to say." When Cleveland and the girls tried to cooperate with the police they were pushed back. While talking to the same publication, Smith, 18 at the time, said, "We tried to give the policemen our names, but he just told us to butt out. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t want our names. I said, 'What are you going to do about this? This is a boy.'" Cleveland died at the age of 56, almost two decades after Dahmer's arrest.
Check out Glenda Cleveland's interview.
Glenda Cleveland the unsung hero
Sinthasomphone was reportedly drugged, assaulted, and injected with hydrochloric acid by Dahmer, and the end result was always the same for his victim. Cleveland, being the concerned citizen, called up the police day after seeing Sinthasomphone's picture in the newspaper but got no response. The FBI did not respond as well. After her death, her story will be told in the miniseries.
Niecy Nash is playing Cleveland, and in an interview with Netflix, she reflected on what it was like playing the role of this unsung hero who confronted Dahmer on numerous occasions. She explained how Cleveland's story was new to her and she was "unfamiliar" with it. Nash said, "Her story has been told the least. Glenda Cleveland was a special woman. To be able to continue on, and on, and on in an effort to get someone to do something. She deserved more than a cheesy plaque at the bottom of a social hall somewhere."