Image Source: Getty / Steve Kagan
Netflix’s latest true-crime series, “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” is revisiting the chilling murders of the notorious serial killer. The 10-part limited series delves into Jeffrey’s childhood and the psychological behavior that preceded his unnerving string of sexual assaults and murders, which he carried out over a decade before finally getting caught in 1991. Jeffrey horrifically raped, killed, and dismembered 17 known victims, most of whom were underage males of color, between 1978 and 1991.
The Netflix series, from Ryan Murphy, presents a fictionalized version of the true events and is told, in part, through the lens of the victims of the late murderer, portrayed by Evan Peters. Jeffrey’s parents — mother Joyce Dahmer (portrayed by Penelope Ann Miller) and father Lionel Dahmer (played by Richard Jenkins) — also play a huge role in the series as it analyzes whether the infamous criminal’s emotionally devoid upbringing led to his distorted psyche. Following the Sept. 21 premiere on the streamer, many viewers are interested in learning the whereabouts of Jeffrey’s father, Lionel, today. Here’s what we know.
Who Is Lionel Dahmer?
Born in 1936, Lionel graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1959 and received his master’s of science in 1962. He earned a doctor of philosophy after graduating from Iowa State University in 1966, after which he worked as a research chemist, according to an online encyclopedia. He shares Jeffrey and his younger brother, David, with his first wife, Joyce Flint, whom he divorced in 1978, when Jeffrey was 18. While Joyce, who grappled with mental illness and depression, died at age 64 after a battle with breast cancer in 2000, Reuters reported, David lives decidedly removed from the media spotlight, having adopted a different name following his brother’s actions. The most recent public update on David came in 2004, when Lionel and his second wife, Shari Jordan Dahmer, said during an appearance on “Larry King Live” that he was leading a “happy” family life.
Image Source: Everett Collection
Lionel wrote a book, “A Father’s Story,” that details all his early memories of Jeffrey and explores how he feels his parental negligence could’ve been a contributing factor in the grisly actions of his son. The book came out in 1994, a few months prior to Jeffrey’s death on Nov. 28, 1994. A fellow inmate, Christopher Scarver, bludgeoned Jeffrey to death at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Wisconsin, according to The New York Times.
In his memoir, Lionel opened up about the deviant behavior displayed by Jeffrey during his adolescent years that he failed to recognize. “We found out that he had been collecting, at the age of 12 to 14, you know when your hormones are raging, puberty, he was collecting dead animals — roadkills — riding around the rural roads and collecting them in bags,” he recounted during his exclusive interview with King in 2004. “His mother didn’t know. I didn’t know, and apparently, none of his playmates knew.” He added that before 12, Jeffrey came across just as any other “normal boy,” who was “extremely shy.”
Image Source: Everett Collection
During his 1994 appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Lionel shared the thoughts that he contended with after discovering his son’s necrophilia and cannibalistic obsessions. “I considered all kinds of things. Was it environmental; genetic? Was it, perhaps, medications that were taken at the time of — you know, in the first trimester? Was it the effect of, you know, the popular subject now, media violence?” He also said he was “very, very close” with his son after regular phone calls and prison visitations that took place during the trial. “We’ve gotten very close since his — since his arrest. I still love my son. I’ll always stick by him; I always have,” he told Winfrey at the time.
Where Is Lionel Dahmer Now?
Lionel, now 86 years old, is still alive and resides in Seville, OH, with his wife, Shari, as per the database available at Ohio Resident Database. Despite getting a fair share of unwanted media attention over the years, it seems Lionel and his wife mostly keep away from the public eye these days.
Lionel’s last public appearance was in 2020, when he gave an interview for Investigation Discovery’s true-crime series “Jeffrey Dahmer: Mind of a Monster.”