Thursday, September 22, 2022

Lionel Dahmer, Jeffrey Dahmer’s father: 5 quick facts you need to know

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Lionel Dahmer was the father of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer.

Over the years, the still-living Lionel gave several interviews trying to explain what motivated his son. He also wrote a book about Jeffrey Dahmer. It’s called “A Father’s Story”.

The Dahmer murders are receiving renewed attention with a new Netflix series. Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story began streaming on September 21, 2022. “In more than a decade, 17 teenagers and young men have been murdered by convicted murderer Jeffrey Dahmer. How did he evade arrest for so long?” asks the Netflix site for the show.

Today, Lionel Herbert Dahmer is 86 years old and lives in Ohio, according to online records.

Here’s what you need to know:

Over the years, Lionel has struggled to understand his son.

“The closest I got to the why, to give it some sort of causality, I think it was a cumulative thing. I think there were several events in his life,” Lionel Dahmer told Good Morning America.

He listed hernia surgery that caused Jeffrey to worry about “cutting off his penis,” getting a blow to the back of the head, going around, and “getting street murder.”

Dahmer believes Jeffrey’s homosexuality played a role. “I firmly believe it led to his sexuality around the age of 14 or 15,” he said.

“There really weren’t any obvious signs. He wasn’t foaming at the mouth or talking to himself in his sleep,” Lionel told the show.

He said he was a “very wonderful little boy. but very shy.”

Eventually, Dahmer began exhibiting disruptive behavior; he rescued bones from animals and a mannequin. But his father said he learned about these things at the trial. “Before that point, I didn’t know about these things,” he told the program.

Lionel told Good Morning America that he almost caught Jeffrey with his head in a box.

“I was concerned that he had pornographic material or something in that box. I just didn’t want it in the house. My mother was a very strong Christian,” recalls Lionel.

He asked Dahmer to open the box. He refused and tore up a birthday check. He got very angry. “He raised a bit of theater for me,” says his father.

He went to open the box, but Dahmer said, “Please don’t open it tonight… let’s not disturb Grandma.”

When Jeffrey opened it the next day, there was pornographic material inside. He later told his father that he had indeed kept a head in the box.

When the police first called to tell him about the murders, Lionel initially thought Dahmer was the victim. He “just sat in my office stunned” when he realized Dahmer was in fact the suspect.

Lionel has not spoken further about his son until 2020.

“I felt very, very sick about it,” Lionel said in a 2020 interview.

“I’m Jeff Dahmer’s father,” he says in this video.

He said that Dahmer was born in a house they rented in Milwaukee. “As a little boy he was happy. He ran to me and jumped into my arms. He liked to ride his little tricycle.”

“If you watch the home videos, you see a happy time. We were very close… He just loved being with me and his mom.”

He met Joyce Flint, Dahmer’s mother, in Milwaukee. She was outgoing and loved to do new things. “A very loving person, it seemed to me,” she said.

Lionel revealed that Joyce developed seizure symptoms when she became pregnant with Jeffrey Dahmer. “Her body became stiff and she developed a little foam at the mouth,” he said. The doctors never found out what it was.

The marriage “began to unravel. She advocated divorce,” Lionel said in the 2020 interview.

Jeffrey Dahmer went out and started knocking down trees with a branch when he found out his parents were getting divorced. He took it badly and made him feel like he had lost control, his father said in an interview.

He would come home from high school drunk. “The drinking just got worse.”

According to, Flint “moved to California after her divorce from Jeffrey Dahmer’s father, Lionel, in the late 1980s.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, the divorce was bitter. “Their divorce was granted on July 24, 1978, after each accused the other of ‘extreme cruelty and gross dereliction of duty,'” the newspaper reported.
The couple had two children – Jeffrey and his brother David.

According to The Associated Press, police had been investigating domestic disputes between the parents.

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