Many people were involved in the story of Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, but the series doesn’t go into detail on what happened to them after the events depicted on screen. Ryan Murphy’s controversial Netflix series portrays the infamous Milwaukee Cannibal, Jeffrey Dahmer, and a variety of characters impacted by his killing spree. Despite being met with criticism, Monster quickly became one of Netflix’s most successful series and has been praised for giving a voice to those affected by Dahmer and the focus on the systematic failures that allowed his crimes to continue.
American Horror Story regular Evan Peters plays the title character in Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. In addition to detailing Jeffrey Dahmer’s childhood, the series focuses on the crimes that took place between 1978 and 1991, in which he murdered, dismembered, and in some cases even cannibalized 17 young men and boys, landing him a 1992 conviction and 15 consecutive life sentences in prison. Monster shines a light on the often-ignored lives of the killer’s victims, as well as showing the mental states of traumatized neighbors and oblivious family members who were also affected by Dahmer’s crimes.
The end of Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story doesn’t delve too deep into what happened to the people involved after the events in the series, but life continued for these real-life survivors, neighbors, and family members after Jeffrey Dahmer was murdered in prison in 1994. The stories of survivors in the aftermath of Dahmer’s crimes might not be what many expect. Here’s what happened to the key players involved in the story after the events portrayed in Monster.
Lionel & Shari Dahmer
Throughout Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, a lot of attention is put on Jeffrey Dahmer’s father, Lionel, and stepmother, Shari. Jeffrey Dahmer’s crimes came as a huge shock to the pair, though it’s revealed in the final episode that Lionel (portrayed by Richard Jenkins), had expressed the same fantasies as his son — thankfully with no follow-through. Since Jeffrey Dahmer’s arrest, Lionel has regularly discussed his son’s life, most notably in his 1994 memoir, A Father’s Story. Lionel has stated that his relationship with his son grew stronger after Dahmer’s incarceration.
Despite appearing in many interviews over the years, most recently in the 2020 Investigation Discovery series Jeffrey Dahmer: Mind of a Monster, Lionel Dahmer has mostly tried to remain out of the public eye. Both he and Shari (portrayed by Molly Ringwald), use every television appearance to raise awareness for other parents who might have concerns about their children. The two are now in their 80s and still married, reportedly residing together peacefully in Ohio.
Joyce Flint & David
Jeffrey Dahmer’s mother, Joyce, led a troubled life after suffering from post-partum depression from his birth and that of his younger brother, David, as detailed at the start of Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. After a tumultuous relationship with Lionel and a messy divorce, Joyce (portrayed by Penelope Ann Miller), took David and moved to California, all but abandoning Jeffrey at their family home and creating the opportunity for her son to carry out his first murder, of 18-year-old Steven Hicks, in 1978. After Jeffrey’s arrest in 1991, Joyce expressed her hurt at her son’s actions but still continued to call him every Sunday.
After her son’s murder in 1994, Joyce made several attempts to take her own life. In 1995, she fought Lionel in court in an attempt to allow Jeffrey’s brain to be studied, but after losing this battle, she returned to some semblance of a normal life working in an HIV community center where co-workers described her as “enthusiastic” and “compassionate.” Joyce passed away from breast cancer at the age of 64 in 2000. Not much is known about the life of Jeffrey’s younger brother, David, though it has been reported that he’s changed his family name to distance himself from his brother and is supposedly married with two children.
Jeffrey Dahmer’s paternal grandmother, Catherine (portrayed by Michael Learned), played a huge, unknowing role in her grandson’s crime spree since her house was the location for several of his early murders. After Jeffrey was discharged from the army in 1981, Lionel sent him to live with his grandmother, hoping she would be a positive influence on him. Unfortunately, this didn’t go as planned since, in the nine years that Jeffrey resided in her home, he killed three victims and dismembered a fourth.
Despite Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story suggesting that Catherine was suspicious of her grandson’s activities in the house, it’s never been confirmed whether she actually had any idea what was happening, as she didn’t provide any testimony at his trial. However, she did find her grandson’s stolen mannequin and potentially saved the life of Ronald Flowers after interrupting Dahmer’s usual routine. Catherine reportedly died on Christmas day in 1992, with Monster suggesting that she had been suffering from dementia for a few years prior.
Scream Queens star Niecy Nash portrays Glenda Cleveland in Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, an amalgamation of the real Glenda, who lived in a building close by, and Jeffrey Dahmer’s real next-door neighbor, Pamela Bass. Glenda was a key player in drawing attention to the failures of law enforcement in stopping the serial killer, especially after witnessing police officers Joseph Gabrish and John Balcerzak walk one of Dahmer’s victims back into his apartment after being told that the young Konerak Sinthasomphone was his drunk boyfriend.
Glenda became an activist for the victims’ families after the arrest, stressing that if the police had listened to her pleas, at least five of Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims would have been spared. In the years that followed, she tried to stay out of the media spotlight, wanting instead to return to normal. Even so, she was praised as a hero, receiving awards from women’s groups and the Milwaukee Police Department. She stayed living in the local area for the rest of her life, dying in 2010 at the age of 56.
As well as Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story focusing on the victims who didn’t survive, there were several who managed to come face-to-face with Dahmer and make it out alive. Ronald Flowers was lured to Dahmer’s grandmother’s house in hopes of getting help to jump-start his car. Dahmer’s grandmother interrupted the pair after Flowers had been drugged, forcing Dahmer to make sure that Flowers made it to a hospital. Despite speaking to police, who questioned Dahmer, no action was brought against the killer.
Dyllón Burnside portrays Flowers in Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, though the real Flowers has retained a mostly private life after the incident. He made a rare appearance in 2020’s Jeffrey Dahmer: Mind of a Monster, where he spoke of his experience with the serial killer, explaining how he felt “sheer terror.” Flowers testified against Dahmer in court, stating that if it wasn’t for the killer’s grandmother, he would have been murdered. Though not much is known about Flowers’s life since Dahmer, he revealed that he had been working as a mental health counselor.
The first of Jeffrey Dahmer’s potential victims that viewers see in Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story was in fact his last, Tracy Edwards (portrayed by Shaun J. Brown). Edwards was key to Dahmer’s capture since he managed to escape the killer’s apartment and guide police back to the location. There, they found polaroids of previous victims, which led to Dahmer’s immediate arrest. Unfortunately, Edwards’s story is one of the more tragic in the aftermath of Dahmer’s crimes, since the lucky survivor later found himself in trouble with law enforcement for various crimes, culminating in a 2011 homicide.
After Jeffrey Dahmer’s arrest, Edwards was hailed as a hero for bringing down the serial killer. Edwards testified against Dahmer in the 1992 trial where he explained in detail the tense and terrifying hours he spent in the killer’s apartment before finally managing to escape. It seems that his experience with Dahmer took its toll, which isn’t shown in the Netflix true crime series, as he wound up facing charges including drug possession, property damage, theft, and failure to pay child support. He was then arrested alongside another man on suspicion of throwing Jonny Jordan off a bridge, spending a year and a half in prison and two years of extended supervision. It’s unknown what has happened to Edwards since.
The Sinthasomphone Family
The Sinthasomphones were terrorized by Jeffrey Dahmer, with one brother, then-13-year-old Somsack, being drugged and sexually abused in 1988 and another, 14-year-old Konerak, falling victim to serial killer in 1991. Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story details how law enforcement failed here. Konerak had been drugged and had a hole drilled into his skull before managing to escape, only to be walked back to Dahmer’s apartment by police. His brother, Somsack, managed to escape Dahmer three years earlier after being lured to his apartment under the pretense of being paid for nude photos. The detail of these horrible acts is one reason that Netflix received backlash for its LGBTQ+ tag.
After Jeffrey Dahmer’s arrest, the Sinthasomphones filed a lawsuit against the city of Milwaukee and the police department, stating that the police had failed to uphold Konerak’s constitutional rights by taking him back to Dahmer’s apartment without confirming the killer’s claims. In 1995, the city settled the case, awarding the family $850,000, though the police officers who delivered their son back to Dahmer did not face any repercussions. Somsack has led a very private life since these traumatic events, apparently residing in Wisconsin with his wife.
Joseph Gabrish & John Balcerzak
Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story draws a lot of attention to law enforcement involved in the Jeffrey Dahmer case, particularly Officers Joseph Gabrish and John Balcerzak (played by Matthew Alan and Scott Michael Morgan, respectively). The officers came under immense fire after it was revealed that they had allowed Konerak Sinthasomphone to return to Dahmer’s apartment, despite hearing the concerns of worried neighbors, including Glenda Cleveland’s daughter and niece. In the immediate aftermath of Dahmer’s arrest, an audio recording of the officers joking about reuniting the “lovers” and making homophobic remarks came under heavy criticism, leading both officers to be suspended and later fired.
Judge Robert L. Parins ruled in favor of the officers when they appealed their termination, leading to both being reinstated with $55,000 back pay in 1994. After the events depicted in the dark Netflix series, Balcerzak served as the head of the Milwaukee Police Association from 2005 to 2009, though his position was criticized by citizens and officers alike due to continued homophobic remarks and a disagreeable leadership style. He retired in 2017. Gabrish left the Milwaukee Police Department not long after his reinstatement, instead becoming a captain with the Grafton Police Department. He is also now retired.
Portrayed by Furly Mac in Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, Christopher Scarver murdered both Jeffrey Dahmer and another prisoner, Jesse Anderson, at the Columbia Correctional Facility in 1994, only two years after Dahmer’s incarceration. Scarver had been in prison for the murder of Wisconsin Conservation Corps employee Steven Lohman in 1990. As shown in Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, on the morning of November 28, 1994, Scarver, Dahmer, and Anderson were carrying out their work duties in the prison gym toilets, where they were left unsupervised for about 20 minutes. Scarver beat the two men with a dumbbell bar before returning to his cell and confessing, receiving two more life sentences. In 2012, there were rumors that Scarver may write a tell-all book about the murders, though this hasn’t yet materialized.