Netflix’s ‘Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story’ focuses on the string of horrifying crimes committed by Jeffrey Dahmer. While his childhood, psyche, and actions are explored in the series, the focus majorly falls on the people around him. It sheds light on the stories of the victims, who were brutally robbed of their lives, as well as their families. The events unfold from the point of view of the people who tried to stop the serial killings and the disappointment they faced from the authorities.
The story also explores the narrative from the perspective of the people who’d been the closest to the infamous murderer. While his parents, Lionel and Joyce, were integral to his story, Jeffrey Dahmer’s stepmother, Shari Dahmer, was also an important person in his life. Where is she now? Let’s find out.
Where is Shari Dahmer Now?
Now in her 80s, Shari Jordan Dahmer has been married to Lionel Dahmer since 1978, after he divorced his first wife, Joyce Flint. Their last known whereabouts place them in Ohio, which is where they have spent most of their lives together. Shari first met Jeffery when he was introduced to her by Lionel when the couple arrived at Flint’s place. It turned out that she had left with her and Lionel’s second son, David, and Jeffrey had been living alone for some time.
Shari’s first impression of Jeffrey, as told by her in Oxygen’s two-part documentary ‘Dahmer on Dahmer,’ was that he needed love and attention. “What I wanted to do, and what most people wanted to do, was mother him. He was just vulnerable. Even if I wasn’t his stepmother all his life, as a mother you sense those things,” she said. Jeffrey’s heavy drinking also stood out to Shari as she noticed that the liquor in her mini bar kept lessening. She claimed that she and Lionel had tried to get help for Jeffrey.
Even when he was living away from them, in Wisconsin, they’d kept tabs on him by visiting him time and again, which is why it was such a shock when they found out about all the horrifying things that had been discovered in the same apartment. “When I went to Jeff’s apartment, I went through his refrigerator and his bathroom. I pulled back the bathroom’s shower curtain. At that point, his apartment was perfectly clean. Spotless,” she said.
Shari and Lionel stood by Jeffrey through his arrest and trial. They never defended his actions but believed that he was in need of psychiatric help. Following Jeffrey’s conviction and the media coverage generated around the crimes, the name Dahmer became synonymous with the horrific serial killings. While Jeffrey’s younger brother, David, chose to let go of that name and detach himself completely from the entire thing, Shari and Lionel didn’t change their last name.
“I’m proud of my name. I used it in the business world. I use it still. I have no reason to deny who I am. We didn’t do anything wrong,” Shari said in a 2004 interview on CNN’s Larry King Live. In 1992, both Shari and Lionel, as well as Joyce, had a wrongful death suit filed against them by the family of Steven Hicks. Parental negligence and failure to supervise Jeffery while they were living in Bath Township were laid down as the cause for the claim against the parents, while Jeffrey himself was charged with wrongful death and found guilty of it.
Shari kept in touch with her stepson during his time in prison and paid him regular visits until Jeffrey’s death in 1994. Since then, she has given a few interviews about Jeffrey’s life and state of mind, including in her appearance on ‘Dahmer on Dahmer’. In the Larry King interview, Shari expressed her desire to do “anything that we could do to circumvent or prevent another Jeff,” mainly with respect to her husband’s book, ‘A Father’s Story,’ and the public conversations they’d had about her stepson since then.
Now, in Ohio, life goes on for the couple, who didn’t have any children together. Shari maintained a good relationship with Jeffery and the same with his younger brother, David, and their grandchildren. She and Lionel live a quiet life now. “We’re no different than anyone else in the world… Nobody bothers us here, nobody picks on us. We’ve been here 17 years and we’re part of the neighborhood, no more, no less,” she said in the documentary. Shari hoped that from their story, people could “learn to watch our children, monitor them, love them dearly, but be aware of any nuances.”
Read More: How Did Jeffrey Dahmer Die? Who Killed Him?