On July 22, 1991, the world was shocked by the news of Jeffrey Dahmer’s gruesome crimes. For years, he had been abducting, raping, murdering, and cannibalizing victims in his Milwaukee apartment. When the police finally caught him,
they found body parts stored in his fridge and freezer. In the midst of this horrific discovery, one question remained: how could someone do something like this?
The answer, at least partially, may lie with Jeffrey’s mother, Joyce. In this blog post, we will explore her story—from her early life with Jeffrey to her present-day work as an advocate for parents of murderers.
Joyce Dahmer’s early life
Joyce Dahmer was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on May 14, 1936, to Lionel and Florence Dahmer. She was the middle child of three, with an older sister, Shirley, and a younger brother, David. The family was close-knit and devoted to one another.
Joyce was a bright and outgoing child who did well in school. She was active in her church youth group and loved spending time with her friends. Her parents were supportive of her interests and encouraged her to pursue her goals.
After graduating from high school, Joyce attended college for two years before marrying her husband, Lionel Jr., in 1957.
The couple had two sons together: Jeffrey Lionel (born 1960) and Daniel Thomas (born 1966).
Although Joyce loved being a wife and mother, she struggled with depression and anxiety throughout her life.
These mental health issues made it difficult for her to maintain relationships and hold down a job. Joyce also struggled with alcoholism;
she would often drink to excess, leading to arguments with her husband and periods of estrangement from her children.
The day Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested
On the morning of July 22, 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested at his apartment in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The arrest came after one of his victims, 32-year-old Tracy Edwards, escaped from Dahmer’s apartment and flagged down a police officer.
At first, Dahmer denied any wrongdoing, but when the police searched his apartment, they found evidence of horrific crimes. In the bedroom, they found a Polaroid photo of a naked man with holes drilled into his head. In the kitchen, they found a butcher block full of knives and a refrigerator full of body parts.
their corpses and sometimes kept their body parts as souvenirs.
Dahmer’s arrest shocked the nation and brought immense sorrow to his family. His mother, Joyce Dahmer, was devastated by her son’s crimes. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey shortly after the arrest, she said, “I don’t think there are any words to describe how I feel… It’s every parent’s nightmare.”
Joyce Dahmer’s life after her son’s arrest
In the years since her son’s arrest, Joyce Dahmer has tried to move on with her life. She has remained largely out of the public eye, but in recent years she has given a few interviews in which she speaks about her son and his crimes.
Joyce has said that she still loves her son, but that she can never forgive him for what he did. She says that she tries to remember the good times they had together, but that it is difficult when she is constantly reminded of his crimes.
Joyce has remarried and now has a granddaughter whom she loves dearly. She says that her family is her life now and that they help her to cope with what happened.
While Joyce will always have to live with the legacy of her son’s crimes, she has tried to make the best of a difficult situation.
What Joyce Dahmer thinks about her son today
“It’s hard to believe that it has been almost 30 years since my son, Jeffrey, took those 17 lives. I think about him every day and I still miss him terribly. I know that he was a monster and what he did was unforgivable, but he was still my son.
“I have forgiven him for what he did and I know that he is at peace now. I am so proud of the man that he became in the end and I know that he truly regretted his actions.
“I think about the victims and their families every day as well. My heart goes out to them and I pray for them daily. I know they are probably never going to forgive me for what my son did, but I hope someday they can find some peace.”
It is difficult to imagine what it must be like for Joyce Dahmer, the mother of one of America’s most notorious serial killers, Jeffrey Dahmer. In this article,
we hear her story — how she copes with the past and how she tries to make sense of her son’s horrific crimes. It is a reminder that even monsters have mothers, and that families are often left to deal with the aftermath of their loved one’s actions.
No matter what our loved ones do, we will always love them — even if we can never fully understand why they did what they did.