Jeffrey Dahmer’s Brother – Who Is David Dahmer?

Jeffrey Dahmer's brother was David, younger by six years, though he has legally changed his name. His current whereabouts are a mystery.

By Rick Gonzales | Updated

jeffrey dahmer brother

The horrific and vile crimes that Jeffrey Dahmer committed happened during a 13-year period from 1978 through his arrest in 1991 and are now being relived in the Netflix series, Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, with Evan Peters portraying the serial killer. Although the series mainly focuses on the killer’s life and crimes, it does, early on, touch on his younger life when he was simply the older sibling to David, Jeffrey Dahmer’s brother. But just like in the Netflix series, the real David Dahmer was there for a bit, and then poof, he was gone.

The Ryan Murphy series, which is not popular within the LGBTQ community nor the victims’ families, touched on Jeffrey’s early relationships with his parents, grandparents, and even David, but the absence of Jeffrey Dahmer’s brother as the series progressed pretty much fell in line with real life.

Very little, if anything, is mentioned about David in the series after Jeffrey’s arrest and that could be because Jeffrey Dahmer’s brother actually disappeared from anything and everything that had to do with his older brother’s disgusting crimes.


David Dahmer was born on December 18, 1966, to Lionel and Joyce Dahmer. He is almost seven years younger than Jeffrey, who was born on May 21, 1960. According to the 1993 Brian Masters biography, The Shrine of Jeffrey Dahmer, Jeffrey Dahmer’s brother saw early on just how warped Jeffrey was when David saw Jeffrey conduct an animal dissection. What David Dahmer thought his brother was doing compared to reality were two different things.

“David Dahmer knew about the animal graveyard and thought his brother was ‘doing a good service’ by burying dead creatures,” Masters wrote in his Jeffrey Dahmer biography. On the surface, Jeffrey Dahmer’s brother didn’t see much wrong with what his older brother was doing, but looking back, it was simply a harbinger of terrible things to come. The first was the divorce of the Dahmer brothers’ parents.

David Dahmer’s parents split up in 1978, which just so happens to be the year that Jeffrey Dahmer began his monstrosities. Detailing the split, both Lionel and Joyce charged each other with “extreme cruelty and gross neglect of duty.” Then, according to Masters in his book, a brutal custody battle for the then 11-year-old David Dahmer began.

“There was much discussion and worry,” Masters wrote, “over who should have custody of David and where he would live, but no thought was ever given as to what should happen to Jeff, or where he would be expected to live.”

Custody of Jeffrey Dahmer’s brother was given to Joyce, finally. Although the court ordered Joyce to remain within a reasonable distance of David’s father, Joyce defied those orders, picked up her home and David, and moved it all to Wisconsin.

According to Masters, “She left, never to return, urging Jeff not to tell his father what she had done.” But it was this battle of where David would stay that left Jeffrey out in the cold.

At the time, Jeffrey was almost 18 and he eventually chose to stay with his father. This is when Jeffrey’s reign of terror would begin. That year, 1978, Jeffrey Dahmer murdered his first victim.


Not much is known about Jeffrey Dahmer’s brother between the time Lionel and Joyce split. Lionel went on to marry again and after Jeffrey Dahmer was brought to justice, both Lionel and his new wife, Shari, were consistently present at Jeffrey Dahmer’s trial. Jeffrey Dahmer’s brother was never seen at the trial.

When Jeffrey Dahmer was finally caught, it was a brutal scene. Tracy Edwards, 32 years old at the time, was lured back to Dahmer’s apartment on the pretense of posing for nude pictures, drinking beer, and keeping Dahmer company. Edwards knew something was wrong immediately when he entered the apartment, as the smell inside was horrendous.

Things got worse for Edwards when Jeffrey Dahmer slapped handcuffs on him. Thankfully, only one wrist got cuffed. When Dahmer finally looked away from Edwards, Edwards made his move, punching Dahmer in the face and escaping out the door. It was only moments later that Edwards tracked down the police.

When they arrived back at Jeffrey Dahmer’s apartment, what they found was a horror show. Four severed heads were in the kitchen. Seven skulls were found in Dahmer’s bedroom. More horrors were waiting inside Dahmer’s refrigerator.

jeffrey dahmer brother

Jeffrey Dahmer confessed to killing 17 men and boys. His confession brought him life in prison, where he lasted three years. In 1994, Dahmer left his cell with two other prison inmates to perform their work detail.

All three were left unsupervised in the prison’s gym showers. During those 20 minutes left alone, one of the inmates, Christopher Scarver, took a 20-inch metal bar and proceeded to beat both Jeffrey Dahmer and the other inmate. Jeffrey Dahmer died an hour after he was taken to the hospital and the other inmate died two days later.


David Dahmer was 18 years old when he decided he wanted nothing to do with the Dahmer name. He refused to go to court, he refused to stand by his brother, his father, and his stepmother. Instead, David Dahmer chose to legally change his last name while also choosing not to discuss any part of his childhood with the press.

Today, no one is really sure where Jeffrey Dahmer’s brother lives. He has successfully remained out of the spotlight, apparently living a nice life. In 2004, Lionel Dahmer, along with Shari, gave an interview on Larry King Live, briefly discussing David.

Both Lionel and Shari shared a small bit, with Lionel saying about his sons that Jeffrey was the shy one while David was more outgoing. They then shared that David has found himself a nice career, and has a wife and two children. But then Lionel said it was all he could say about his youngest son because “We’ve promised to keep him completely secret.”

Completely secret is the life that Jeffrey Dahmer’s brother lives and we can’t blame him. Disassociating himself from the horrors that were his brother is the best thing for David and his family. Let’s hope it stays that way.