MILWAUKEE (AP) - A family who fled Laos a decade ago had two encounters with suspected killer Jeffrey Dahmer. The first ended with a teen-age boy's molesting. The second ended with the mutilation death of a younger brother.
"Obviously anyone who has gone through such a tragedy as this would wonder if they've chosen the right path for their lives," the Rev. Peter Burns, a Roman Catholic priest and family friend, said Friday.
Less than three years after Dahmer sexually assaulted the first boy and then apologized, the refugee family learned younger brother Konerak Sinthasomphone, 14, was found among 11 dismembered bodies in Dahmer's apartment.
"We thought it likely that he was in there. The whole thing is crazy. It is terrible. … I don't know what to say," Anoukone Sinthasomphone, the 25-year-old brother of the two boys, said in a brief interview Fri
Konerak had been missing since May 26, when he disappeared on a Sunday afternoon after leaving his family's home on Milwaukee's north side to meet friends in a park.
His body was among those found Monday in Dahmer's apartment, police said.
Anoukone Sinthasomphone said the family was shown a photo of the boy that police said was found at the apartment. It showed the boy was handcuffed above his head and wearing blue underwear, he said.
Nicole Childress, 18, said Dahmer wrestled the boy away from her after she called police. The boy was naked, appeared to be drinking and was bleeding from his buttocks, she said.
Police let the boy and Dahmer go and told the women the incident was nothing more than a homosexual spat, the women said.
"We tried to give the policemen our names, but he just told us to butt out," said the other woman, Sandra Smith, 18. "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."'
Burns said the Sinthasomphones were "distressed by the story. There is nothing else they can say.
"The family is filled with a lot of different emotion. Anger is certainly one of them," Burns said at a news conference at the family's home. "They hope and pray no one else will ever have to endure such a tragedy again."
A brother and sister of the victim and two cousins sat on the steps of the home behind the priest but did not speak. One girl, her eyes welling with tears, politely turned reporters away.
Burns said the family of 10 left Laos "to come to a country where there would be freedom and where there would be peace. It was a tortuous journey as I have been told."
Members in Milwaukee's Laotian community of 7,000 believe Konerak's killing was in retaliation for Dahmer's previous sexual assault conviction, said Shoua Xiong, executive director of the Lao Family Community Inc.
"It is like you are running and you think you escape but you are coming to a dangerous world in this place," Xiong said.
In 1989, Dahmer was convicted of second-degree sexual assault for fondling Konerak's brother, who was then 13 and now 16. Dahmer offered the boy $50 to pose nude for photos at Dahmer's home in 1989, court records said.
Dahmer was freed after spending 10 months of a year in jail and was placed on five years of probation .