How did Tony Hughes die? How Dahmer killed him

Tony Hughes

Netflix’s Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story chronicles the serial killer’s life through the eyes of his victims. Tony Hughes, a mute and deaf Madison, Wisconsin, native, was the perfect Jeffrey Dahmer victim: he was gay and black. Dahmer targeted gay people because he was gay, but it’s unclear why his victims were mostly from minority communities. 

One popular suggestion claims Dahmer knew the police wouldn’t care about gay black or Hispanic men disappearing. Dahmer refuted the idea that he chose his victims due to race, saying he sought out the most attractive person willing to accompany him home. 

Regardless of Dahmer’s selection criteria, he convinced Tony Hughes to go home with him on 24th May 1991, the last day people saw Hughes alive. 

Tony Hughes likely died due to strangulation after Dahmer drugged him

Tony Hughes’ story features in episode six of Monster. Hughes was born on 26th August 1959 and became deaf due to antibiotics he was given shortly after birth. His mother, Shirley, described him as outgoing and happy. 

After graduating from the Wisconsin school for the deaf, Hughes joined college and started pursuing his modeling dream. It’s unclear how long Hughes and Dahmer knew each other, but most reports agree the pair had met before Dahmer lured him home. 

Two weeks before Tony’s disappearance, he’d told his mother that a man named Jeffrey had offered him a job. Hughes was last seen on 24th May 1991 at the 219 Club in Milwaukee. 

Shirley told The Associated Press that she tried to contact Hughes and his friend Jeffrey to no avail. By the time Shirley started looking for Hughes, he was likely long dead. 

It’s unclear how Dahmer killed Hughes, but we suspect he followed his regular modus operandi. Dahmer likely drugged Tony with sleeping pills and killed him by strangulation. He then dismembered his body, dissolved the flesh using chemicals, and kept some body parts. Shirley told The Associated Press:

“When it happened, I thought I was about to lose my mind. Until then, I was praying and asking the Lord to show me where my son actually was. I just had to know whether he was alive or not. It still hurts me when I think of the way he died.”

After authorities found human remains in Dahmer’s apartment, Hughes’ family waited anxiously to find out whether some of the remains belonged to Hughes. “It’s scary,” Tony’s sister, Barbara Hughes-Holt, told The Associated Press. “Just fearing that one of those bodies could be my brother is real scary.”

In early July 1991, the police notified Shirley of Hughes’ death. Dental records confirmed that one of the skulls in Dahmer’s house belonged to her son.