Joyce Dahmer: who was Jeffrey Dahmer’s mum, when did she change her name to Flint, what did she say about son?

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Joyce reportedly said her son’s crimes left her ‘tormented in agony for eternity’

Netflix’s latest true crime series Dahmer- Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story and documentary Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes, retell the horrific crimes committed by one of America’s most infamous serial killers.

Jeffrey Dahmer was responsible for the gruesome murders of 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991, with his crime spree only stopping after one of his would be victims, Tracy Edwards escaped.

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Whilst on trial, Dahmer was supported by his father Lionel, step mother Shari and mother Joyce. So who was Jeffrey Dahmer’s mum and what happened to her? Here’s everything you need to know.

Penelope Ann Miller as Joyce Dahmer in Netflix’s Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (Pic: Ser Baffo/Netflix )Penelope Ann Miller as Joyce Dahmer in Netflix’s Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (Pic: Ser Baffo/Netflix )
Penelope Ann Miller as Joyce Dahmer in Netflix’s Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (Pic: Ser Baffo/Netflix ) | SER BAFFO/NETFLIX

Who was Jeffrey Dahmer’s mum Joyce Dahmer?

Joyce Flint is the mother of notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Born on February 1931, she met and married Lionel Dahmer on 22 August 1959.

Their first son, Jeffrey would be born on 21 May 1960. Joyce experienced nausea and stiffness during the pregnancy and according to Lionel’s 1994 book “A Father’s Story” she received injections of phenobarbital and morphine to treat this.

He also wrote that following her second pregnancy with their youngest son David, Joyce was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis.

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Joyce and Lionel divorced in 1978 and after a bitter custody dispute, it was determined that David would go live with his mother, whilst Jeffrey would stay at home with his father and his new wife Shari so he could finish high school.

When did she change her name to Flint?

Flint is Joyce’s maiden name and following on from her divorce with Lionel she changed back to her original surname. She also went by the nickname “Rocky” however the reason behind this is not explained.

What did she say about her son’s crimes?

Joyce could never escape from the horrific crimes that her son committed. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel she said: “When I think of what Jeff did, I stop breathing.”

Reported by The Sun, Joyce spoke with journalist Bill Janz in 1993 and kept in contact with him throughout her life. Janz said that Joyce would speak to Jeffrey from prison on a weekly basis and that she would ask him about his “urges”.

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Joyce reportedly told Janz: “I asked him, ‘Do you still have these urges?’ and he said ‘Yes, mom. I’m so glad I’m locked up. I’d be afraid what I’d do if I weren’t locked up”.

In another call the mother and son reportedly talked about his crimes with Joyce saying that “Jeff is going to go down in history as a monster” adding: “One of the hardest things, over and over, he tried to remind me, he told me, (the victims) were never conscious (during his experiments). In his mind, in his strange mind, he didn’t think he’d hurt them.”

In an undated note to Janz, she wrote: “I’ll be tormented in agony for eternity, just like they are,” referring to her son’s victims. Adding: “Their grief will always be so terrible, and without end.”

Jeffrey Dahmer (left) poses with his mother, Joyce Flint, and younger brother, David (Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/Joyce Flint)Jeffrey Dahmer (left) poses with his mother, Joyce Flint, and younger brother, David (Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/Joyce Flint)
Jeffrey Dahmer (left) poses with his mother, Joyce Flint, and younger brother, David (Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/Joyce Flint) | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/Joyce Flint

What happened to Joyce Flint?

Joyce struggled with her mental health after the revelation of her son’s crimes. In 1994 it was reported by the United Press International that she had attempted to take her own life.

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She was discovered “lying face down” in her kitchen after turning on her gas stove and leaving the door open. Joyce had left her will along with a handwritten note which read: “It’s been a lonely life, especially today. Please cremate me.” Adding: “I love my sons, Jeff and David.”

Joyce survived the attempt on her life and would go on to work as a case manager at the Central Valley AIDS Team in California and found “The Living Room,” a HIV community centre in Fresno, California.

According to Deseret News she died from breast cancer in 2000 at the age of 64.

Julio Mastro, the Living Room’s executive director told Deseret News at the time: “Everybody loved her. She would do anything for her clients and for anybody really. She was just this wonderful person.”

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