Netflix’s Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story comprehensively examines Jeffrey Dahmer’s life and crimes. However, one key player in his upbringing misses from the story: Jeffrey’s younger brother, David Dahmer. Jeffrey’s parents didn’t give him the attention he craved, so he wasn’t enthused about the prospect of sharing his parents. 

Lionel and Joyce Dahmer attempted to pacify Jeffrey by asking him to pick his brother’s name. Jeffrey didn’t hate his brother, but he felt David got more attention from Lionel and Joyce. Dahmer’s parole-probation officer, Donna Chester, described her client’s relationship with his family:

“He is uncomfortable with his family because (1) his father is controlling, (2) he has nothing in common with his brother who attends college….”

David changed his name, and it’s unclear if he’s still alive. 

David Dahmer wanted nothing to do with his brother’s infamy. Unlike his parents, David retreated from the public eye, moved away from Ohio, and changed his name. He got married and, as of 2004, had welcomed two children. It’s unclear whether David Dahmer is still alive. 

Dahmer declined multiple requests for television interviews but agreed to an evaluation by a psychiatrist. An Associated Press article revealed that David talked to the psychiatrist about his distant relationship with his brother. David said that Jeffrey had a ‘uniform inability to relate to anyone.’ 

Lionel, Dahmer’s father, talked to Larry King about David and Jeffrey’s relationship: “Yes, [Jeffrey] loved [David]. But many times, he just tolerated him because — because his younger brother was so expressive and active that sometimes he got on his nerves.”

Lionel and his second wife, Shari, told Larry King that David was happy. He pointed to the brother’s seven-year age gap as the reason for their distance:

“Jeff was older. So yes, they enjoyed themselves as brothers, but there was always that seven years’ difference in interests, so it — they weren’t as close as someone maybe that was one or two years different.”

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