A former classmate of Jeffrey Dahmer revealed he found out about the cannibal serial killer’s crimes after reading a newspaper while riding a train in Europe.
“I was in an unusual situation,” Dr. Mike Kukral told FOX News Digital. “Most classmates, from what I know, of course, learned of it on the television, on the front page of the newspaper, from their parents telling them who probably still lived back home if they had moved away, things like that.”
“I was overseas, I was in Europe, and I’d been in Europe an entire year on a Fulbright scholarship, and I was just about ready to go home. It was, I guess, July or August of ’91, and I picked up a newspaper. I had a long train trip to take, and I picked up a newspaper, and nothing on the front page, not too interesting, second, third page. And then…there’s a photograph of his family home in Bath. And I knew that house pretty well; everybody knew that’s where Jeff Dahmer lived, that house. And I saw a picture of the house, and then I read the article and I just couldn’t fathom what I was reading.”
Dr. Kukral, a Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology professor emeritus, was classmates with the “Milwaukee Monster” during junior and senior high school back in the 1970s. He explained how “stunned” he was after learning of Dahmer’s crimes.
“I first thought it was his father who had committed the murders. And then when I read the second paragraph, they used his first name, Jeffrey. I just sat there, stunned, I’d say, on this train for hours with no one to talk to about it and just read this one brief article,” he said. “I just sat there on this train for the next four or five hours thinking about this and thinking about Jeff Dahmer and thinking about high school and wondered what in the world went on in his head, what caused him to do these things.”
“There’s no explanation for something so horrific, these crimes,” he added.
Dahmer was arrested in May 1991 by the Milwaukee Police Department. At the crime scene, officials found several decapitated human heads and numerous dismembered bodies.
Dahmer, a sex offender, committed the rape, murder and dismemberment of 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. Many of his later murders involved necrophilia, cannibalism and the preservation of body parts.
The serial killer’s truly horrific modus operandi was brought to light further during his trial where he was convicted of 15 killings in Wisconsin. According to prosecutors, there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him with the 16th slaying. He also pleaded guilty to the Ohio murder of a hitchhiker in 1978.
“How can you comprehend anything like that?” Kukral asked. “How can you think about anybody that you might have known – I mean, think of all the people in the U.S. that didn’t know Jeff Dahmer and how shocked they were and how repulsed they were in reading this news of this serial killer and the crimes he committed and the murders and everything. Imagine? Well, let’s take it up a few levels, a few notches and say, ‘Oh, yeah, by the way, I went to school with this kid. I knew him when we were teenagers.’ That’s a whole other level.”
Dahmer was serving 15 consecutive life terms in 1994 when he was bludgeoned to death by fellow inmate Christopher Scarver.
Dr. Kukral told Fox News Digital how unsuspecting he was, having known Dahmer early in life.
“I wouldn’t say I was a friend of his. I don’t think he had any close friends,” he said. “We saw him a lot because my friends and I thought he was a funny guy. He did things to crack us up and make us laugh. And he was in a lot of classes with me. So he was around all the time, my crowd of friends, but I don’t think he had any close friends really, in those years.”
“That’s how I knew him, just somebody in my class that was a little bit different, a little bit funny.”
Given Dahmer’s oddities, Dr. Kukral explained that nothing about his behavior “would tell us something is dark or evil about him.”
“I think that maybe that interest in biology and in life is the only thing I can think of,” Dr. Kukral said. “But we didn’t think of it as anything really bad at that time. It was just, you know, some kids are interested in that stuff. Other kids are not.”
The professor emeritus also shared one story about Dahmer’s “goofy,” “spontaneous” antics which he mentions in FOX Nation’s four-part docuseries, “My Son Jeffrey: The Dahmer Family Tapes.”
“I was at my locker and he just stopped by and he put his head on my chest for a second and he said, ‘I just want to listen to your heart, make sure you’re still alive,’ and then just went right down the hall, as usual. And that lasted all of five seconds, and that’s like a goofy 14-year-old, 15-year-old thing to do,” he said.
“We try to make something out of that now and make it something darker than it was. But at the time, from the outside, not from Jeff Dahmer’s mind…I mean, I don’t know what his mind was thinking…but from the outside, we didn’t think anything of anything bad of him doing stuff like that. It was just a little bit different and a little bit funny and didn’t really seem to have and the regular interest a lot of other kids did.”
In FOX Nation’s four-part docuseries, “My Son Jeffrey: The Dahmer Family Tapes,” Dr. Kukral also revealed more about his childhood interactions with Dahmer.
The show, now streaming, takes a closer look at Dahmer’s string of crimes and explores the killer’s life, from his early years to his own demise.
The series includes chilling recordings of conversations between serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer and his father, Lionel. These never-before-heard audio tapes reveal from Dahmer’s own words new details about his crimes and his relationship with his father.
While Dahmer’s actions may not have the impact on Dr. Kukral that it had on the victims and their families, the former classmate said “he’ll always be there in the back of my mind somewhere.”
“The people who he’s impacted their life, of course, are all the families of the victims. And that’s something that should never be forgotten. All the tragedy in their lives that will never end,” he said. “For the rest of us, it’s part of our past, part of our growing up years.”
Dr. Kukral, along with other individuals connected to Dahmer, reveal more chilling details of the killer’s past and never-before-heard audio tapes reveal his descent into depravity through his own words. Find out more by signing up for FOX Nation and streaming “My Son Jeffrey: The Dahmer Family Tapes.”
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FOX News’ Stephanie Nolasco contributed to this report.