While Netflix’s new limited series, Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, details the terrifying crimes of notorious American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, it also sheds light on his long-forgotten victims, telling their life stories from their own perspectives.
The series' sixth episode focuses on Hughes and explores the victim's interactions with Jeffrey Dahmer before his eventual murder.
The heart-wrenching scenes show viewers Hughes' life story, from his birth, to his quest to find love and his short relationship with Dahmer. The episode makes viewers believe there could possibly be a different ending to this story. For once, Dahmer tells his dad he's actually happy, and that he has a "new friend" in his life.
But Hughes' story ends the same way as all the others, with a horrific murder at the hands of Dahmer.
Here's what you need to know about who Tony Hughes was and how he died.
Tony was deaf and could not speak.
Anthony "Tony" Hughes was born on August 26, 1959, according to FBI records. He permanently lost his hearing as a baby because of some side effects of medicines that were given to him as a child, according to The Sun. He was also apparently mute.
Hughes graduated from the Wisconsin School for the Deaf, according to Gallaudet University.
He was a model.
Hughes moved to Madison, Wisconsin, to go to college while pursuing a modeling career, The Sun reported.
How did Tony meet Jeffrey Dahmer?
The two reportedly met at a gay bar, where Hughes interacted with people by writing on a notepad. He had communicated with his eventual killer, Jeffrey Dahmer, in the same fashion.
Hughes was visiting family in Madison and "went dancing at a Milwaukee gay bar on May 24, 1991. Jeffrey Dahmer picked him up, took him home, drugged him, dismembered his body and kept his skull," according to contemporary news reports from The Associated Press.
Was Tony Hughes friends with Jeffrey Dahmer?
The series details how the two became attracted to each other, and shows Dahmer even attending some of Hughes’ photoshoots—but it’s not clear how much of the episode is based on truth, and which parts have been fictionalized.
However, Hughes may have been working for Dahmer, because his mother told The Associated Press that her son had "taken a new job two weeks earlier but never got his first paycheck," and that "she was unable to contact the friend because she only knew a first name—Jeffrey."
Who played Tony Hughes in the Netflix documentary?
Tony is played by actor Rodney Burford in the series, which aired Sept. 21, 2022.
Where is Tony Hughes now?
Jeffrey Dahmer killed Tony Hughes in 1991. But details of Tony's murder are scarce, even in the series.
But according to FBI records, 31-year-old Hughes disappeared on May 31, 1991, but hadn't been seen since May 24, when friends saw him at the "219-Club." Two months later, in July of 1991, his remains, including his skull and vertebrae were discovered in Dahmer’s apartment, along with the remains of many other victims.
Tony was initially identified through his dental records, and his mother was notified of his death in early July.
Where is Tony's family now?
When Hughes’ remains were identified, his mother, Shirley Hughes thought she “would lose her mind,” she told The Associated Press in 1992. In another interview, she stated, "I just prayed and asked the Lord to show me where my son was. I just wanted to know if he was dead or alive. The way he died, it hurts. Words can’t describe it.″
Shirley Hughes described her son as "outgoing, jolly, happy," and said that "he could easily make friends,″ per The Associated Press.
A grief counselor who worked with victims’ families after the tragic events said Shirley worked hard to pick up her family and to find religion after the tragic events, according to The Tab.
Aside from a few public interviews about her son, Shirley and the rest of the Hughes family have kept their private lives out of the spotlight, the outlet said.
Tony was Dahmer’s 12th victim.
Dahmer later confessed to murdering Hughes and was sentenced to 15 consecutive life sentences in 1992 for Tony's murder and the murders of 14 others, according to History. All in, Jeffrey killed 17 teens and men between 1978 and 1991. Most of Dahmer’s victims were people of color.
Dahmer was killed by another inmate two years after his sentencing.
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