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Where is Lionel Dahmer, Jeffrey Dahmer's father, now?

“I’ll always stick by him. I always have,” Lionel Dahmer, now 86, has said of his son.
Jeffrey L. Dahmer [Misc.];Lionel Dahmer;Jeffrey L. Dahmer [Family]
Research chemist/author Lionel Dahmer, father of confessed serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, standing outside of Columbia Correctional Institute where his son is imprisoned.Steve Kagan / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

The new Netflix series "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Series" has brought renewed attention to the life of the notorious serial killer and his 17 victims and members of the Dahmer family, including his brother David Dahmer (who later changed his name) and his father Lionel Dahmer.

In the first episode of the series, Lionel Dahmer, portrayed by actor Richard Jenkins, is brought down to the police station where he learns details of the 17 murders his son committed between 1978 and 1991.

In 1992, Jeffrey Dahmer was convicted of murdering 15 boys and men between the years of 1978 and 1991, and admitted to two more.

Since then, Lionel has publicly admitted there were warning signs about his son's behavior, including in his early life.

Lionel, 86, whose job was as a chemist, has largely stayed out of public life in recent years. However, he has made some public appearances and even authored a book about his experience as Dahmer's father.

Lionel tried to keep Jeffrey in prison after his 1989 conviction

In 1989, Dahmer was arrested and convicted of second degree sexual assault. He was sentenced a year at a work release camp and was released in 1990, per the FBI. He was placed under five years of probation.

Lionel wrote a letter to Judge William Gardner asking for the judge to keep Jeffrey in prison, writing he believed his son needed additional mental health treatment, according to a letter he reads in the 2020 documentary "Jeffrey Dahmer: Mind of a Monster."

Jeffrey L. Dahmer [Misc.];Lionel Dahmer;Jeffrey L. Dahmer [Family]
Research chemist and author Lionel Dahmer, father of confessed serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, stands outside of Columbia Correctional Institute where his son is imprisoned.Steve Kagan / Getty Images

"I have reservations regarding Jeff’s chances when he hits the streets. I have experienced an extremely frustrating time trying to urge initiation of some type of treatment," Lionel wrote. "I sincerely hope that you might intervene in some way to help my son, who I love very much and for whom I want a better life. I do feel, though, that this may be our last chance to initiate something lasting and that you can hold the key."

But as viewers saw in the series, Dahmer was released — two months earlier than expected.

Dahmer went on to murder 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone, the brother of the young man he had been convicted of molesting.

Jeffrey's next arrest brought them 'very close'

Dahmer was arrested again on over a dozen murder charges in July 1991. He was convicted of 15 counts of murder in 1992, and was sentenced to 15 consecutive life sentences.

Lionel said in an interview on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1994 that he visited his son in prison at least once a month and spoke on the phone at least once a week.

"We’ve gotten very close since his ... arrest," he told Winfrey. "I still love my son. I’ll always stick by him — I always have."

Lionel was on Winfrey's show to promote his memoir, "A Father's Story." He told Winfrey he wrote the book to raise awareness for other parents of possible warning signs in their children, as well as to create treatment options for those who experienced similar thoughts as his son.

Lionel has pondered what could have caused Jeffrey's behavior

Lionel opened up about his attempts to understand Dahmer's desire to kill while speaking to Winfrey in 1994.

"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 asked.

On CNN's Larry King Live in 1994, Lionel described his son as "extremely shy" growing up, but otherwise called him a normal boy. Lionel explained he and Dahmer's mother both didn't know their son was collecting dead animals as a young teenager until his trial, and that he would have intervened immediately if he knew.

"We found out that he had been collecting at the age of 12 to 14 — you know, when your hormones are ranging, puberty — he was collecting dead animals, road kill, riding around the rural roads and collecting them in bags," Lionel said. "His mother didn’t know. I didn’t know. And apparently, none of his playmates knew."

"If I had known about the roadkill, that would have been a red flag," he continued. "I would have done something immediately, intervened."

But in the 1993 biography “The Shrine of Jeffrey Dahmer,” Brian Masters wrote that David Dahmer saw his older brother once conduct an animal dissection.

“David Dahmer knew about the animal graveyard and thought his brother was ‘doing a good service’ by burying dead creatures,” Masters wrote.

Lionel's last interview was in 2020

Lionel appeared in the 2020 documentary "Jeffrey Dahmer: Mind of a Monster," but has largely remained out of the public eye. In the documentary, he described his immediate reaction to finding out that Dahmer was murdered while imprisoned in 1994.

"When I find out that Jeff was murdered, it was just devastating," he said. "It affected me very gravely."

Lionel and his first wife, Joyce Flint, argued over what to do with their son's remains. Flint told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 1995 she wanted his brain to be examined by medical professionals to determine if any biological factors had played a role in his killings.

Lionel, however, wanted Dahmer's brain to be cremated because he said that's what his son requested, according to the Los Angeles Times. A judge ruled in 1995 that Dahmer's brain would be cremated, the Times reported.

Lionel has also said he never wanted to change his last name, like his younger son David did.

"I’m proud of the name Dahmer. My father was a schoolteacher and a barber. He brought himself up from the bootstraps," he told King in 1994. "His father and mother died at a very young age. I have a very good ancestry, and I’m proud of the name."

"The only thing is when we go out, sometimes we’ll give a different name so that — you know, at a restaurant, for example, so that we don’t cause a lot of people to — you know, to move their heads around and look," he continued.

The 86-year-old now lives in Seville, Ohio, with his second wife, Shari, according to public records. He has not made any public statements on the recent Netflix drama series, which is No. 1 on the streaming platform.