The FBI has joined the investigation of a brutal attack on gay teen Holden White in Louisiana, giving the victim’s family and friends hope that the incident will be prosecuted as a hate crime.
White, an 18-year-old college student, was mutilated, tortured and left for dead by an apparent Jeffrey Dahmer fan he met on Grindr in Lafayette on Saturday night. White’s alleged attacker, 19-year-old Chance Seneca, is charged with attempted second-degree murder and is being held on $250,000 bond.
White’s family members fear that Seneca will post bond and hurt someone else. They want to see the charge against him upgraded to first-degree premeditated murder, given that Seneca allegedly told a former partner he fantasized over killing a gay man, according to KLFY-TV.
They also believe the incident should be treated as a hate crime.
Since October, Seneca’s Facebook profile has featured an image of Dahmer, the serial killer who murdered 17 men and boys from 1978-91. However, police in Lafayette quickly ruled out the possibility that the attack was motivated by anti-gay bias.
KLFY reports: Holden was stabbed multiple times in the neck, his hands were nearly sawn off, and he was strangled with a cord until every blood vessel in his head ruptured. That was June 20th. The next day, detectives informed White’s parents it was not a hate crime. “The notion that our local law enforcement can rule out such a heinous and brutal act as not being a hate crime within 24 hours is not only premature but arguably a miscarriage of justice,” said Humphrey. According to Lafayette’s PFLAG president, not all the evidence has been analyzed. Police have the defendant’s phone, but not the victim’s. The family’s advocate is hopeful the FBI, which became involved in the case, sees things differently. “This does give us some indication that some federal law may have been broken,” said Humphrey.
On Thursday night, the Lafayette Police Department issued an updated statement about the case: “The Lafayette Police Department has received numerous phone calls, texts, and emails in reference to the Holden White investigation. Investigators with the Lafayette Police Department have sought the opinion of the District Attorney’s Office. It should also be noted, the Federal Bureau of Investigations is also assisting in this investigation. Information received in reference to the incident is being evaluated daily. The Lafayette Police Department is continuing to develop information in the case and should that information lead to the evidence of a hate crime additional charges can be filed.”
White’s mother, Rayette Gaspard, spoke with KATC-TV about her son’s recovery, saying he remains in the ICU but no longer needs a ventilator or feeding tube.
“From the strangulation, his voice is very weak, but he is getting stronger each day,” Gaspard said. “He’s upset about his arms. They un-bandaged his arms, and he said, ‘mom I can’t use my arms, and I won’t be able to for a very long time.’ I said, it’ll be okay, physical therapy, really good doctors. It will be okay.
“My fear is that he [Seneca] goes back to finish what he started with my son. That’s my fear,” Gaspard added. “It’s scary. He fantasized about this for a long time, to my understanding. He followed through.”
Watch the two reports below.