Here’s What Jeffrey Dahmer's Family Thinks Of Their Serial Killer Relative

Watch Oxygen's Dahmer on Dahmer: A Serial Killer Speaks on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 7/6c.

Jeffrey Dahmer was a serial killer who killed and dismembered 17 boys and men between 1978 and 1991. He ate some of his later victims, which earned him the macabre nickname The Cannibal Killer. Oxygen will be airing a two part series called “Dahmer on Dahmer: A Serial Killer Speaks” premiering Saturday, November 11 at 7pm ET/PT. “Dahmer on Dahmer” promises new explosive details and unseen interviews, including interviews with family members.

FATHER & STEPMOTHER 

Dahmer’s chemist father wrote an entire book called “A Father’s Story” dedicated to being the father of the infamous serial killer. In it, he suggests that prescription drugs Jeffery’s mother was on while pregnant could have affected his brain in a negative way. In his book, Lionel Dahmer questions if his son’s shyness was a red flag of future murderous tendencies. Confused about what may have “caused” his son to kill, Lionel expresses the complicated and often contradictory feelings he had about Jeffrey. The dad often blamed himself for Jeffrey’s (severe) flaws. Lionel said he was negligent and probably didn’t give enough to Jeffrey, emotionally. In his memoir, he referenced the “fan mail” his son received.

"Clearly, some of these people believe that in some bizarre way, my son could rescue them from lives in which they felt entrapped. It demonstrated a level of sympathy and pity that I simply could not reach. . . . I often wondered why, in a world of so much feeling, I could express so little."

The distraught father even blamed his chemistry background.

"As a scientist, [I] wonder if [the] potential for great evil..resides deep in the blood that some of us . . . may pass on to our children at birth,” he wrote in his book.

One thing was clear. Lionel did love his son. He stayed in regular contact with Jeffrey and visited him in prison. And, as he told a reporter from Inside Edition, their visits always started with a hug.

In the interview, Jeffrey’s dad said that Lionel and his wife were pretty much the only visitors Jeffrey received at the prison. Shari Dahmer, Jeffrey’s stepmother, appeared to be very loving and fond of him. In the Inside Edition interview she hugged Jeffrey and wished him a happy Valentine’s Day. She had known him since he was 18.

Shari sympathized with Jeffrey and told Deseret News that prison "is a living death for Jeff. [...] The greatest loss to Jeff is his freedom.”

Lionel and Shari both expressed that they feared for Jeffrey’s safety. Their worry was valid. Jeffrey was beaten to death by a fellow inmate at Wisconsin’s Columbia Correctional Institution on July 19, 1994.

 

 

MOTHER

Jeffrey’s mother was deeply hurt by her son’s actions.

"I wake up every morning and for a split second I don't know I'm Jeffrey Dahmer's mother, and then it all floods in," Joyce Flint said during a 1993 interview.

She told MSNBC that there were no warning signs.

“He was a normal young boy,” she said. Flint dismissed concerns from at least one teacher that Jeffrey was severely shy.

In an interview with "Hard Copy," Flint said, "Jeff was a victim of a compulsion, an obsession."

She spoke to Jeffrey by phone every Sunday night while he was incarcerated.

“I always asked if he was safe,” Flint said. “He’d say, ‘It doesn’t matter, Mom. I don’t care if something happens to me.’”

After her son’s death, Flint and Lionel Dahmer engaged in a court battle over their son’s remains. According to the Chicago Tribune, Flint wanted her son’s brain preserved and studied to determine if biological factors were behind her son's behavior. This indicates that she may have thought he killed due to such aspects. The brain was never studied because the court sided with Jeffrey’s dad who wanted to cremate the body and brain as per Jeffrey’s wishes. The ashes were split between the parents.

Just months before Jeffrey was murdered in prison, Flint attempted to commit suicide. She turned on her gas oven and left its door open. Next to her lay a suicide note which read, “It's been a lonely life, especially today. Please cremate me. [...] I love my sons, Jeff and David.”

On Hard Copy she expressed, "I still love my son. I've never stopped loving my son. He was a beautiful baby. He was a wonderful child. He has always been loved."

Jeffrey’s younger brother David but he has reportedly changed his name and does not want to be associated with the infamy of his brother’s actions.

[Photo: NBC News]

Crime Time is your destination for breaking crime news, original reporting, and information about Oxygen's programming. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our Martinis & Murder podcast!

You May Also Like...

Recommended by Zergnet