When the word ‘serial killer’ is uttered, many people will immediately think of Jeffrey Dahmer and David Dahmer.
So, Who is David Dahmer and What happened to him? Let’s get to know everything in this article.
In 1991, the world was shocked when word spread that Dahmer had been convicted for the murder of seventeen young men and boys between 1978 and 1991.
While Dahmer remains one of the most heinous killers in the American consciousness, numerous books, films, and documentaries have been released, all of which detail his gruesome murder spree.
Some chose to dig deeper, looking into his childhood and wondering how a timid boy became of the most notorious killers in history.
In an attempt to find out how these psychopathic tendencies began, many so-called investigators turned to his family, talking to his parents and attempting to get in touch with his brother, David Dahmer, to find out how it all began.
The Dahmer’s Childhood
Jeffry Dahmer was born in May 1960 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was the first of two sons of research chemist Lionel Herbert Dahmer and teletype machine instructor Joyce Annette.
For the majority of his early years, Dahmer was isolated from his parents, who struggled with various marital problems.
Lionel was still a student when his son was young and thus, spent much of his time away from the house.
Joyce, a hypochondriac, spent much of her time in bed suffering from bouts of depression, once even attempting suicide.
Lione’s book on his son discusses how neither parent could devote much time to the young Dahmer, who would often recall the loud arguments between his parents he was constantly exposed to.
Dahmer, who had been an energetic and happy child, became extremely quiet and shy after undergoing a double hernia surgery before his fourth birthday.
A teacher at elementary school noticed he was displaying signs of abandonment, exacerbated by his mother’s illness getting worse when she was pregnant with her second child.
Joyce gave birth to her second son after the family moved to Doylestown, Ohio, in 1966.
His parents let Dahmer name his baby brother, and he chose to call the child David Dahmer. That year, Lionel began working as an analytical chemist, exposing the impressionable young boy to the process of preserving bones.
Over the years, Dahmer began to dig up and clean animal bones, observing his father and teaching himself how to preserve skulls and body parts.
Around the same time, Dahmer became a problem child, letting his grades slip in favor of being named class clown. He also realized he was gay and was briefly involved in a non-s*xual relationship with a classmate.
In 1977, Lionel discovered Joyce had briefly been involved with another man, and the two decided to divorce.
Informing their sons that the split was amicable, Jeffry and David Dahmer were given a choice to stay with their mother or father.
In the spring of 1978, Joyce left the family home with David Dahmer and moved in with relatives in Wisconsin. Dahmer, who had just turned 18, opted to stay in the family home.
The Thirteen-Year Murder Spree
Dahmer’s first victim was an 18-year-old hitchhiker named Steven Hicks.
The killer took Hicks to his parent’s home, where he strangled and dismembered him, placing the body parts in trash bags.
Of his first murder, Dahmer said on Inside Edition:
“I always knew that it was wrong. The first killing was not planned, […] I’d had fantasies about picking up a hitchhiker, and taking him back to the house, and having complete dominance and control over him.”
“No one. No one had a clue as to what was happening for over a decade,”
Nine years later, Dahmer claimed his second victim.
After the brutal murder of Steve Tuomi, Dahmer developed an appetite for killing and actively searched for young men to murder.
A prominent feature of the murders is Dahmer’s attention to detail when disposing of his victims’ corpses, especially in the dismemberment and preservation processes.
1989 marks the first time Dahmer retained any of his victim’s body parts, keeping the head in a jar.
Dahmer’s Arrest and Trial
In July 1991, Tracy Edwards agreed to come to Dahmer’s apartment to post for nude photographs.
Edwards was the only one of Dahmer’s victims to successfully escape, running out after punching his assailant in the face.
Edwards managed to catch two police officers, who told him a “freak” had handcuffed him and attempted to kill him.
The officers escorted Edwards to the apartment, where they were horrified by the polaroids Dahmer had stuck on the walls, capturing the stages of dismemberment.
Upon seeing the polaroids, an officer stated: “These are for real.”
In the apartment, authorities discovered severed heads in the kitchen, two human hearts in the fridge, seven skulls in the bedroom, and a torso in the freezer, as well as jars of other preserved organs.
The chief medical officer remarked: “It was more like dismantling someone’s museum than an actual crime scene.”
After briefly resisting arrest, Dahmer reluctantly cooperated with the police.
“For what I did I should be dead,” he told them.
Dahmer pleaded guilty but insane to fifteen total counts of murder.
After an extensive and highly-publicized trial in 1992, Dahmer was sentenced to fifteen consecutive life sentences.
He was also tried for murder regarding his first string of murders in Ohio, receiving a sixteenth life sentence.
Dahmer was killed by a fellow inmate in 1994, dying after being bludgeoned by a 20-inch metal bar.
The Family’s Reactions
Dahmer’s father, Lionel, released a memoir after the death of his son, entitled, A Father’s Story.
In the book, he attempted to dissect his son’s psychological process, blaming Joyce’s excessive drug use while pregnant for Dahmer’s negative brain development.
He also addressed the complicated feelings he had towards his son, blaming himself for negligence and the inability to cater to his son’s emotional needs.
Lionel and his second wife were the only members of Dahmer’s family to visit him in prison.
His brother, David Dahmer, has never publicly spoken out about his older brother.
It has been reported that David changed his name, refusing to continue to be associated with his brother’s actions and unfortunate legacy.
Nobody knows what happened to David, what he changed his name to, or whether or not he is still alive.
Dahmer reportedly detested David, believing his younger brother was given the love and attention he had always craved.
With David moving in with their mother after the Dahmers’ divorce, it is unlikely the brothers bothered keeping in touch over the years.