Steven Hicks was a hitchhiker in Ohio who was the first known victim of serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer.
Dahmer’s serial killings – including the murder of Hicks – are featured in a new Netflix series. “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” started streaming on September 21, 2022. “Across more than a decade, 17 teen boys and young men were murdered by convicted killer Jeffrey Dahmer. How did he evade arrest for so long?” the Netflix site for the show asks.
The Netflix series shows Dahmer picking up Hicks when he was still in high school before beating him with a barbell and then spreading his bones around Dahmer’s parents’ property. The victim’s full name was Steven Mark Hicks.
What is the true story of Steven Hicks, the hitchhiker who was Dahmer’s first victim?
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Fifty Pieces of Bones Were Discovered on a Hillside in the Yard of the Home Where Dahmer Grew Up
According to a 1991 Associated Press article, accessed via Newspapers.com, investigators “returned to the boyhood home” of Dahmer in Bath, Ohio, after he was arrested for serial murders in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
They were trying to verify Dahmer’s story that he murdered a hitchhiker, the first of his 17 known victims.
“To pieces of bone were found in a crawl space at the house,” the article says. It was believed one of those bones was part of a human rib.
“Using a map drawn by Dahmer, investigators found more than 50 pieces of bones…on a rocky, ivy-covered hillside in the yard of his old home” in the Akron suburb.
Some were skull fragments.
2. Dahmer Gave Hicks a Ride in 1978 & Then Strangled Him to Death
The Associated Press article from 1991 says that Dahmer gave Hicks a ride in 1978 “brought him home, strangled him, cut up the body and buried it in a crawl space under the house.”
He dug up and buried the remains “several times, eventually removing the flesh, smashing the bones with a hammer and scattering them in a ravine,” according to the AP.
He murdered Hicks in a room upstairs in the house and dismembered the body “in the crawl space,” the article states.
The coroner, William Cox, told AP, “He (Dahmer) said he literally threw the fragments in a 360-degree arc and the bones we found were in areas consistent with that.”
3. Dahmer Picked Up Hicks as Hicks Was Hitchiking to a Rock Concert
According to a second AP article from 1991, the corner identified teeth and bone fragments at the Bath property as belong to Hicks.
Dahmer told police he hit Hicks “in the head with a barbell,” the article stated.
Authorities identified the remains by comparing a molar, molar fragment and neck vertebra “with X-ray records of Steven Hicks,” the AP story says.
The article says that, as the Netflix series shows, in real life Hicks was “hitchhiking to a rock concert.” Dahmer took him home and “told police he killed Hicks when he tried to leave.”
4. Hicks’ Father Told a Newspaper His Son Was Trusting & That He Warned Him Hitchhiking Could Be Dangerous
A 1991 article in the Akron Beacon Journal reported that Hicks graduated from Coventry High School in Ohio, where he was remembered as outgoing and friendly.
His father, Richard Hicks, told the newspaper that his son had a “trusting personality.”
He had hitchhiked successfully earlier that day, being picked up by a “caravan of students,” and then he said he would meet them at an airport landing field but never showed up.
Richard told the Beacon Journal that he had warned his son hitchhiking was dangerous and said he picked up a hitchhiker once just to lecture her about hitchhiking.
He said Steven could be “pretty rowdy.”
5. Hicks, Who Was Missing for Years, Was Declared Legally Dead Even Before Dahmer’s Arrest
For years, Hicks was missing and his family hoped he would return. Eventually the family had Hicks declared legally dead even before Dahmer was arrested, the Beacon Journal reported.
Hicks was 18 when he died.
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