Tony Hughes, Dahmer Victim: What Is the True Story?

tony hughes

Twitter/mugshot Tony Hughes and Dahmer

Tony Hughes was one of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims. What is the true story of his murder?

Also known as Anthony Hughes, his plight features prominently in the new Netflix series of Dahmer.

Dahmer’s killings between 1978 and 1991 are getting renewed attention as a result of a new Netflix docudrama 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.

Many fans have written on social media that they are heartbroken by the episode showing Hughes’ death.

What is the true story? What really happened to Tony Hughes?

Here’s what you need to know:


1. Hughes, Who Was Deaf, Met Dahmer in a Milwaukee Gay Bar

According to a 1991 article in the Capital Times newspaper, Hughes, who was deaf, was last seen at Club 219, a “gay bar on Milwaukee’s south side.”

Hughes “apparently left with him the night of May 24, after telling a male friend from Madison to pick him up at his sister’s house the next day. Tony Hughes had gone to Milwaukee to visit family at his sister’s house. But he was never seen again.”

When Dahmer was arrested, Hughes’ friends reported “seeing Hughes and Dahmer together.”

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Hughes’ hearing issues were the result of “a battle with pneumonia as an infant…He could read lips and communicated through sign language and written notes.”

Hughes’ mother Shirley taught a church Bible class.


2. Hughes’ Skull Was Found in Dahmer’s Apartment

Hughes’ skull was found in Dahmer’s apartment, and he was identified by dental records, the article said.

A relative of Hughes, 31, said in the Capital Times article that “at least now we know where he was.”

Old newspaper articles describe Hughes as being “deaf-mute.”


3. Hughes’ Mother Said She Shed ‘Tears of Hurt’

A 1991 article by United Press International on criminal charges against Dahmer quotes Hughes’ mother, Shirley Hughes.

According to that article, the criminal complaint “charged that Dahmer lured his victims to his apartment, drugged them, usually strangled them and sometimes had oral sex with the bodies before dismembering them.”

Shirley Hughes told UPI that she was devastated.

“It hurts just like I say. I shed tears. They’re not tears of sorrow, and it’s not disbelief in the Lord. The tears is tears of hurt because it hurts. It hurts real bad. But you have to trust and pray and just keep going day by day.”


4. Hughes’ Sister Named Her Daughter After Tony, Who Worked in a Plastics Factory

Barbara Hughes-Holt, Tony’s sister, named her daughter after her dead brother.

“We miss Tony very much, and we want to keep that memory of him around in the niece he never saw,” she told the Wisconsin State Journal in 1992.

Tony Hughes lived in Madison, Wisconsin, where he “held a $7-per-hour production job at the United Plastics Corp.,” according to the State Journal.

He was in Milwaukee for the weekend to visit family and friends.

“We thought he returned to Madison when he didn’t stop up back home,” Shirley Hughes told the State Journal.

“We didn’t know he was missing until his work called and told us he had not shown up. We knew that was not like Tony so we immediately knew something had happened.”


5. The Family Posted Missing Person’s Posters of Hughes Around Town, and That Made Dahmer Change His Modus Operandi

According to the State Journal, the family began distributing missing person’s notices around Milwaukee.

That action caused Dahmer to change his modus operandi because he didn’t want to be identified as having last been seen with Hughes.

The State Journal said that Dahmer “never returned to the South 2nd Street gay bars for victims.” Instead, he ended up going to Chicago bars to pick up victims and then to the neighborhood around his apartment.

READ NEXT: Jeffrey Dahmer’s Cause of Death.

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