Holden White, who was brutally attacked during a Grindr date is pictured on the left at Ochsner Lafayette General Hospital soon after the June 20 incident. White is pictured six months later in December near The Acadiana Advocate office in downtown Lafayette. Holden White, who was brutally attacked during a Grindr date poses for photos at the Acadiana Advocate offices while showing his tattoo he got after the attack on Sunday, December 27, in Lafayette, La. Holden White, who was brutally attacked during a Grindr date poses for photos at the Acadiana Advocate offices on Sunday, December 27, in Lafayette, La.
Holden White, who was brutally attacked during a Grindr date speaks about the attack at the Acadiana Advocate offices on Sunday, December 27, in Lafayette, La. Holden White, who was brutally attacked during a Grindr date takes about the incident at the Acadiana Advocate offices while showing the tattoo he got after the attack on Sunday, December 27, in Lafayette, La.
Holden White is pictured at Ochsner Lafayette General soon after suffering strangulation, stab wounds to the neck and cuts so deep to his wrists that his hands were nearly cut off. Holden White is pictured at Ochsner Lafayette General after awakening from a coma in the aftermath of an attack in which he suffered from strangulation, stab wounds to the neck and cuts so deep to his wrists that his hands were nearly cut off.
Holden White is pictured at Ochsner Lafayette General following surgeries to his wrists in the aftermath of an attack in which he suffered cuts so deep to his wrists that his hands were nearly cut off. Holden White beside his sister, Faith Roussel outside of Ochsner Lafayette General, where he spent weeks recovering from critical injuries suffered during a Grindr date.
Holden White, left, is pictured beside his sister, Faith Roussel, and parents, Rayette Gaspard and Jeff White, after Holden White was discharged from Ochsner Lafayette General following weeks of treatment of critical injuries suffered during a Grindr date.
Holden White is pictured at physical therapy as he regains strength and use of his wrists following an attack in which he suffered cuts so deep to his wrists that his hands were nearly cut off. Editor's note: This story includes details of a violent crime and may not be suitable for all readers.
There's a gender imbalance in many african-american neighborhoods. mass incarceration is largely to blame.
It wasn't so long ago that Holden White would find himself anxious over college exams and online dates. These days, however, the year-old finds himself much calmer. He credits his new mindset to a near-death experience that happened after he was brutally attacked during a Grindr date. White recalled the near-death experience that changed his life during an interview with The Acadiana Advocate. He remembers entering a dark room, void of all light, and feeling a deep sense of peace wash over him.
Perhaps it was purgatory, White says, or some space between life and death. I went towards the light. I went far enough until I woke up in the hospital.
Where have all the black men gone?
As White opened his eyes, he was bombarded with questions: Do you know who you are? Do you know who I am? Do you know where you are? Yes, he knew who he was. Yes, he knew who was sitting beside him. No, he did not know where he was or why he was there. White would learn that he had just awoken from a three-day coma and was in Ochsner Lafayette General's intensive care unit following a traumatic attack during a Grindr date gone wrong.
He would learn how lucky he was to be alive and coherent after suffering from strangulation that popped nearly every blood vessel in his face, six stab wounds to the neck, blunt force trauma to the back of his head and cuts so deep to his wrists that his hands were nearly sawed off. White, then 18, had been talking off and on to Chance Seneca, 19, for about a month before agreeing to meet up. The two met through the smartphone app Grindr, which is primarily used by gay and bisexual men, and sent flirty messages back and forth.
White said there were no red flags during those conversations, although he would later learn of a Facebook profile under Seneca's name that includes a profile picture of Jeffrey Dahmer, the infamous serial killer who admitted to murdering and dismembering 16 men and boys from to When White invited Seneca over to his new apartment, Seneca would decline the invitation but convince White to come over to his father's house a few days later to play video games.
Later, when Seneca told White he needed to go by his dad's house to make sure the house was empty before picking him up, White would again invite Seneca over to his apartment. White remembers leaving his apartment around 7 p. June 20 in a black shirt and tights to meet Seneca at his car.
White brought with him a PlayStation and video games. White remembers arriving at a "very, very nice house" and noticing towers of XBox games and a guitar in Seneca's messy room. White remembers the conversation feeling a bit awkward. The next thing White vividly remembers is reaching into his bag and feeling a cord wrap around his throat and pull him backward. White remembers fighting back but being unable to overcome Seneca before blacking out.
The water is running, and it's cold.
He is in the process of doing my left wrist. He was slicing it like this" — White said, motioning horizontally across his wrist — "and it was very, very hard. It was to the point that he was basically trying to cut off my hands. White said he has partial memories of Seneca doing the same to his right wrist and also stabbing him in the neck in the bathtub.
He sliced here" — White said, pointing to a scar on his neck — "I want to say he was trying to go for the carotid artery but he missed. He would take the tip of the knife and he was twisting it into my throat each time, but there's " — White continued, pointing to each faded scar — "You can't really see them because they healed very good.
White remembers waking at one point and feeling cold, looking down to see a bathtub filled with blood-stained water and looking up to see Seneca staring down at him. The next thing he remembers is the peaceful, pitch-black space where he would eventually follow the light that led him back to consciousness in a hospital bed. White would spend nearly a month in the hospital, first in Ochsner Lafayette General's intensive care unit and later in regular and rehabilitation rooms.
He went home just before his 19th birthday. The traumatic memories would come back slowly as White recovered from surgeries and went through physical and occupational therapies to relearn how to use his hands. White would learn that Seneca had called and told the operator he had just murdered a man and would wait for police outside of the home on Maryview Farm Road in Lafayette.
Seneca would be arrested and charged with attempted second-degree murder as first responders worked to save White's life. His next court appearance is scheduled for March 3 for a pre-trial hearing. White learned about the November court appearance through media reports instead of through law enforcement or the district attorney's office.
I asked why I wasn't informed of this and was told there wasn't a need to tell me," White said. Although White has found himself much calmer since his near-death experience, he has felt frustration about how the case has been handled. White said Lafayette Police did not properly handle the case, specifically pointing to the department's failure to provide a rape kit to medical personnel to gather and preserve evidence in the case. White said he still does not know whether he suffered sexual assault on top of his other injuries. Wayne Griffin, spokesperson for the Lafayette Police Department, was unable to comment on the situation or the agency's protocol for rape kit usage.
Griffin said he believes the case has been turned the case over to the FBI. White confirmed he has been working with the FBI, noting that Seneca could face additional charges. Alicia Irmscher, spokesperson for the FBI's New Orleans office said her agency is aware of the incident but can neither confirm nor deny whether they are conducting an investigation. At the time, Lafayette Police said the case was not being classified as a hate crime because evidence pointed to other motives.
A police spokesperson declined to comment on specifics about the case. Hate crimes, which are often violent, are those motivated by prejudice because of race, religion, sexual orientation or other specific criteria.
White said he wants to see Seneca charged and convicted of a hate crime because he believes Seneca targeted and attacked him because of his sexuality. It is the Sunday between the Christmas and New Year holidays when White shares his story, which was largely told by family members and law enforcement in the days following the attack.
He wears a loose lavender T-shirt and fitted black jeans that are paired with a black cardigan and stiletto ankle boots. His hair is dyed steel blue. He's dyed his hair about a dozen times since June in nearly every shade of the rainbow. His current icy hue is the opposite of the flaming orange shade he had at the time of his attack. The reminders of his past trauma are no longer easily visible unless someone takes a closer look.
Beneath his long sleeves are horizontal and vertical scars on his wrists — his attacker's knife responsible the horizontal scars and his surgeon's knife for the vertical. Six faded scars dot his neck where he was stabbed. I survived it.
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I'm a survivor. White got a tattoo on his right hand five weeks after the attack as a way for him to take control of the story that his scars tell. The semicolon tattoo has become a common symbol of hope for those suffering from depression, mental illness or suicidal thoughts.
It is seen as a deliberate punctuation choice an author makes when presented with the opportunity to end a sentence, with the sentence being a symbol for one's own life. White chose red ink for the semicolon as a symbol of his strength.
He chose to ink the arrow in black with the head facing away from his body to remind him that life only moves forward. White continues to use dating apps, including Grindr, to meet people. He is now more cautious than he once was, keeping his smartphone's location services turned on and using an app to let close friends know where he is and who he's with at all times.
Even though his scars aren't always visible, it's been difficult for White to keep a low profile. His story was widely shared over the summer as others spoke out on his behalf for justice in the case.
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White has used some of the money to help pay for home health care, rent, school and other expenses. Although he worked at a local restaurant prior to the attack, White has struggled to find a suitable job in the aftermath because of physical limitations and scheduling conflicts as he continues physical therapy appointments and takes college classes.
I use my right hand to drive. I use my right hand to eat. I use my right hand for everything.