An 18-year-old student remains in critical condition after he was stabbed, tortured, and left for dead by a Grindr date who seemingly admired gay serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.
Holden White, of Lafayette, La., was attacked at a residence in the city last week, after agreeing to meet 19-year-old Chance Seneca on gay dating app Grindr. (Editor’s note: This story contains details of the attack that some readers may find upsetting.)
The pair had spoken for a week prior to meeting, the Acadiana Advocate reports. They agreed to meet on Saturday, June 20, with Seneca picking White up at his apartment and driving him to the location of the attack, in the 400 block of Maryview Farm Rd.
Once there, the pair reportedly became embroiled in a “verbal altercation,” according to Lafayette Police Department Sgt. Wayne Griffin. Seneca then produced a knife and stabbed White in the neck.
According to White’s family, Seneca then tortured White for an unknown period of time, before calling 911 and telling operators he had murdered a man. Officers found Seneca at the scene when they arrived at 11:45 p.m.
White was found in a bathtub with stab wounds on his neck, strangulation marks, evidence of blunt force trauma on the back of his head, and deep cuts on his wrist that were so extensive his hands were almost severed.
Seneca was arrested and charged with second-degree attempted murder. He is being held on $250,000 bail.
His Facebook page features a profile image showing a photo of Jeffrey Dahmer, a serial killer and sex offender who killed and dismembered 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. The photo of Dahmer has been Seneca’s profile picture since at least October last year.
After the attack, White was taken to Lafayette General Medical Center, where he has remained in the Intensive Care Unit.
This week, his family reported that his ventilator had been removed and he was able to talk, including joking that he was a “hot mess.”
“His spunky and funny attitude is back,” Faith Roussel, White’s sister, told the Advocate. “The fact that his sense of humor is back and he’s calling himself a hot mess and things like that…. He’s in the hospital. He hasn’t even seen himself. How would he even know if he’s a hot mess?”
Sgt. Griffin said that despite the severity of the attack, it would not be classified as a hate crime, saying there was “nothing [to] tell us that we need to go that route at this time.”
“There were several indicators that point us to the direction that it was not a hate crime,” Griffin said. “I know the mom has been posting on social media, and we’ve had all kinds of people calling the PD asking us to classify it as a hate crime. It’s just because of the sensitivity of the case, we cannot go into any more about it, but it’s not going to be classified as a hate crime.”
Griffin added that he couldn’t see hate crime charges being added in future as the investigation commences. But White’s family has argued that hate crime charges should be applied.
“In my opinion, this is nothing but something filled with hate,” Roussel said. “I feel, just given who his profile picture was and the sick and evil things he did to my brother, this was absolutely a hate crime.”
Matthew Humphrey, president of LGBTQ-ally group PFLAG Lafayette, told the Advocate that he was concerned at the police department’s assertion that hate crimes wouldn’t be added in future.
“The police are put in place to do due diligence and get to the bottom of things and investigate thoroughly and I don’t know how you’re able to say anything definitively about any type of crime four days in, especially something this heinous,” Humphrey said. “I don’t know how you can look at [his injuries] and not think there was a significant element of hate involved.”
White’s family launched a GoFundMe campaign in the wake of the attack to help support his recovery. As of press time, it has raised more than $66,000.
The family posted an updated after White’s condition improved on Monday, saying they are “overwhelmed with the outpouring of love, prayers and donations! Thank you all so very much!”
Roussel said that White, who studies education at Louisiana State University in Eunice, had recently been able to find confidence in himself after “some difficulty throughout his adolescence,” saying he was in a really rough place for a while.”
She added that White is someone who opposes hate in all its forms, noting that he had recently attended local protests against the murder of George Floyd.
“He was just in the middle of the riots speaking out against discrimination,” Roussel said. “He was so against hate against any one color or sexuality or anything, no matter what it was. He wanted all people to be treated equally. He’d be appalled. He’d be on the front lines right now. He’d be trying to uplift the victim.”
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!