Minnesota’s Most-Searched True Crime Story is Incredibly Disturbing
Our society has a strange obsession with true crime as of late. And I'm not shaming anyone for being interested in true crime, because I'm the same way. It's sort of like when you drive by a crash and everyone rubbernecks. In the case of true crime, I'm always so interested in why this person did what they did. The human brain is very weird, which is definitely demonstrated in the true crime story that is the most-searched in Minnesota.
Edwards Kirby Attorneys at Law did some research and revealed the most-searched true crime story in each state between November 2020 and November 2021. I was a little surprised to see that Minnesotas wasn't the Lois Riess case or the Brom murders (which actually took place 34 years ago on February 17th). Minnesota's most-searched true crime story is about the serial killer Dennis Nilsen.
I wasn't familiar with this true crime story so I did some research and oh boy it's not pleasant, as you can imagine. We won't go into detail to spare those that don't want to know but let's talk a little about Dennis and the murders he committed.
Dennis Nilsen was born in 1945 in Scotland and eventually, as an adult, he moved to London for work. While he was growing up he realized he was gay which was obviously not easy at the time. There were some sad and disturbing things that happened in his childhood that you can look into if you want, but we'll jump right to his time in London.
In November of 1975, Dennis met David. They got along and decided to get a place together. For a while, they had a good dating relationship but eventually, things didn't work out. There were lots of arguments and they broke up. Dennis, who was already a heavy drinker, began to spend most of his time alone either dedicated to his work or drinking.
After more failed relationships, Dennis' murdering spree began. He has been tied to at least 12 murders and 7 attempted murders between the years 1978 and 1983. All of his victims were young men or boys who were either homeless or he met at the bar, public transportation, or outside of his home. He would lure them into his home, they would drink and have a good time and then he would strangle his victim. In some cases, he would strangle them until they were unconscious and then drown them. I'm not sure why he suddenly decided to do what he did, but I'd imagine it was a culmination of what happened in his childhood and these multiple failed relationships.
The most disturbing part about his murders is that he'd keep the bodies around for weeks and sometimes months before disposing of them. He would allegedly bathe them, dress them, sometimes put makeup over blemishes, and set them around his home. Dennis was a necrophile so if you know what that means you get the gist of what I'm leaving out of this story.
Dennis' murders were eventually discovered by a plumber who had come by the building after complaints about plumbing issues. What the plumber found in the drain was human flesh and small bones. Sometimes that was how Dennis disposed of parts of bodies was by flushing it down the toilet. The police got involved and they said when they stepped into Dennis' home "they immediately noted the [odor] of rotting flesh."
Eventually, Dennis admitted to the police where they could find the rest of the body. They asked him if there were other bodies around his home to which Dennis said, "'It's a long story; it goes back a long time. I'll tell you everything. I want to get it off my chest. Not here—at the police station.'" They arrested him and while they were driving to the station they asked if the remains belonged to one or two people. Dennis said, "'Fifteen or sixteen, since 1978.'" Since then they've officially connected him to 12 murders and 7 attempted murders but there could be more.
Dennis admitted to everything and when they asked him why he did it he replied, "'I'm hoping you will tell me that'" because he wasn't sure why he did it. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison but that then changed to life. Dennis died in May 2018.
But why is this the most-searched true crime story in Minnesota? I tried to find if there was somehow a Minnesota connection to the Dennis Nilsen murders but I couldn't find anything. The only explanation that I have is that Dennis Nilsen released an autobiography in January 2021 called 'The History of a Drowning Boy' and enough Minnesotans must have been interested in the book that the story shot up in popularity.
If you want to read about more true crime stories, keep scrolling for unsolved Minnesota murders.