MILWAUKEE -- Police Chief Philip Arreola ordered the suspension of three police officers Friday pending an investigation into claims they failed to rescue a Laotian boy whose remains were found in the apartment of mass murder suspect Jeffrey Dahmer.
Two Milwaukee women, Sandra Smith and her cousin, Nicole Childress, both 18, said they phoned police after seeing the 14-year-old boy naked and staggering outside the apartment building where Dahmer, 31, lived about 12:30 a.m. May 27.
But when officers arrived they said the matter was only a domestic squabble between two homosexuals, Smith told the Milwaukee Sentinel.
The remains of the boy, Konerak Sinthasomphone, were identified as among those of 11 males recovered from the apartment of Dahmer. The boy's family told authorities he had been missing since May 26.
'I've confirmed that on May the 27th, 1991, members of the Milwaukee Police Department had contact with the accused, Jeff Dahmer, and the victim,' Arreoloa told a news conference.
'This is a matter of grave concern to me and the entire department. I have directed an immediate, in-depth inquiry into this matter by the internal affairs division of the Milwaukee Police Department. You can be assured that I will take whatever action is warranted just as soon as I have all of the details,' he said.
Arreola said the three officers will be suspended with pay.
'In view of the utter seriousness of the allegations, the welfare of the individuals involved and the good of the department, the officers involved will be suspended from duty pending the outcome of this investigation,' Arreola said. 'I believe that this action is in the best interest of the community, the department and the officers involved ... There is no doubt that I am taken aback by this information.'
Arreola said he did not know why the incident with the Laotian boy was not noted on the missing person's report.
'I don't have the answer, but I certainly will have the answer to that,' said Arreola. 'There is an inquiry being done, and as soon as possible. There has been placed an urgency on this investigation. I will have the answer to that.'
Dahmer was convicted in 1989 of assaulting the boy's brother, now 16. Dahmer was on probation for that crime when he allegedly killed the 14- year-old.
'If they had listened that night, that little boy would still be alive and all theothers wouldn't be dead,' Childress said.
Smith said the boy appeared to have been drinking and was bleeding from his buttocks area. She said the boy mumbled incoherently and was being pursued by Dahmer.
'My cousin stopped him (Dahmer) and said, 'Stay away from that boy.' There was a confrontation and my cousin said she was going to call the police,' Smith said.
'He said, 'The police don't need to be involved. This is my friend. ''
Smith said she protected the boy from Dahmer while Childress ran to a nearby pay phone and dialed 911. Two police officers arrived a few minutes later.
'We tried to give the policemen our names but he just told us to butt out,' Smith said. '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.''
Dahmer told the officer the boy was 19 and the two of them had been drinking, Smith said.
Childress said Dahmer told the officers he and the boy 'were boyfriends. He told them that they lived together.'
'He (the officer) was listening to Jeff; he wasn't listening to me,' she said. 'He wouldn't listen to what I had to say. He told us to get lost or he would take us downtown.'
Smith's mother, Glenda Cleveland, said her daughter was weeping when she got home.
'I was crying because that boy was hurt,' Smith said. 'And it didn't look like the police were going to do anything. They didn't even ask for our names. They just said, 'We'll handle this.''
Cleveland said she waited an hour, then called police headquarters to find out if the boy was all right. Eventually, she said, she was put in touch with one of the officers who responded to the call.
'He assured me that he (the victim) was not a child,' Cleveland said. 'He said he was an adult and that it was a domestic squabble between two homosexuals.'