The embattled father of America's most infamous cannibal passed away at an Ohio hospice care facility in Medina County on Tuesday.
Lionel Dahmer, the father of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, died from unknown causes at the age of 87, the local health department told the New York Post. A source close to the Dahmers confirmed the death to Fox News Digital.
Lionel was thrust into the national spotlight in 1991 after police uncovered the gruesome evidence of his son's crimes – including two entire skeletons, four severed heads and three dismembered torsos in a 57-gallon drum – at the convicted serial killer's Milwaukee apartment.
Dahmer, a sex offender who murdered 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991, was handed 15 life sentences the subsequent year. Many of his later murders involved necrophilia, cannibalism and the preservation of body parts.
Lionel Dahmer is pictured with second wife Shari at his son's 1992 sanity trial. The 87-year-old father-of-two died on Dec. 5. (Curt Borgwardt/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)
At 34 years old in 1994, the younger Dahmer was bludgeoned to death by a fellow inmate at Wisconsin's Columbia Correctional Institution.
In an interview with The Sun last year, Lionel's caretaker said the elderly man "got p---ed" every time his son's killer's name, Christopher Scarver, was brought up.
"He is still very angry about it," the caretaker, Jeb, told the outlet. "As far as I know, and the last time I talked to Lionel, he believes the guards looked the other way and let it happen."
Jeffrey Dahmer, who killed 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991, was handed 15 life sentences in 1992. His father Lionel, who died on Tuesday, continued to love and support his infamous son throughout his prison sentence and after the killer's murde
Lionel, a chemical analyst, visited his son in prison monthly after his conviction, per the Akron Beacon Journal.
"I still love my son, I'll always stick by him – I always have," the father-of-two told Oprah Winfrey in 1994.
The father's genuine efforts to support and understand his son after learning of his gruesome crimes was evidenced by recorded jailhouse phone calls made public by FOX Nation.
"What was the very first fantasy, I was wondering, that you could remember having which you thought to yourself was kind of odd or disturbing?" Lionel asked his son in one of the tapes, per "My Son Jeffrey: The Dahmer Family Tapes."
"I had weird thoughts too, in my childhood," Lionel told his son. "You're just like me, Jeff."
Dahmer was "not born a monster," Lionel told the Akron Beacon Journal in 1991, and the father could not fathom how his son could grow up "polite and kind and pretty normal otherwise and yet do these things unless they are extremely troubled and insane."
Born on July 29, 1936, in West Allis, Wisconsin, Lionel earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin in 1959. He married Joyce Flint that same year, and the couple had Dahmer on May 21, 1960.
After Lionel divorced Flint and moved into a hotel, alleging gross neglect on his ex-wife's part, the woman moved out of their family home with Dahmer's younger brother in the summer of 1978, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. In that period, Dahmer picked up hitchhiker Steve Hicks, 18, and murdered him in the family residence.
When Dahmer was sentenced to five years of probation for molesting a child in 1989, Lionel reportedly asked the judge to give his son the maximum sentence, per the outlet, writing that it "may be our last chance to institute something effective."
Hicks' family would later sue Lionel, Flint and stepmother Shari Dahmer for $50 million in 1992, claiming that their negligence in raising their son led to Hicks' death, per Deseret News.
Lionel Dahmer, pictured with second wife Shari, tried to understand his son's psyche in jailhouse phone conversations and visits. (Steve Kagan/Getty Images)
Lionel's death comes nearly a year after Shari's, who died at a Seville nursing home on Jan. 13, 2022, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, about 25 miles outside of Akron.
Flint died of cancer at 64 in 2000 and attempted suicide at least once beforehand, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Dahmer's younger brother, David, changed his surname and lives anonymously after his brother's crimes surfaced. He was photographed earlier this year by The Sun – the outlet chose not to reveal the major city where he lives to maintain his privacy.
In "A Father's Story," Lionel's confessional about his infamous son's upbringing, he wrote that he operated on "a level of obliviousness, or perhaps denial, that was scarcely imaginable" regarding his son's life.
But after Dahmer's conviction, Lionel worked to understand his son's psyche and pinpoint when things went awry:
"What's really been puzzling me is how come I just didn't know anything about this?" Lionel asked his son in another jailhouse conversation.
"I pretty much was in my own little world," Dahmer told his father. "Amazingly, all the times I should have been caught, I never was."
Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer shown in a police mugshot from his 1982 arrest at the Wisconsin State Fair for indecent exposure. (Ralf-Finn Hestoft/Corbis via Getty Images)
Despite his attempts to live a private life, Lionel was followed by his son's infamy until the end of his life.
After Netflix ran a hit dramatization of Dahmer's life last year, the attention was reinvigorated, the New York Post reported, with fans leaving vicious – or, sometimes, lusty – messages at the senior citizen's home despite futile "No Trespassing" signs surrounding the rural Ohio property.
"We had a lady stop at the end of the driveway, take off her panties and throw them in the yard," caretaker Jeb told The Sun. "The girl looked like she was in her early 20s and was shouting ‘I love you Lionel.’"
Upset that he was never consulted regarding Netflix's "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" and its use of recordings without his permission, the father reportedly considered suing the streaming platform.
The series portrayed Dahmer's relationship with his father, portraying the killer's parent's strained relationship and Lionel's attempts to connect with his son by dissecting roadkill.