According to the criminal complaint, Seneca admitted he invited the victim over to his father’s house with the intention of murdering and dismembering him. The victim spent nearly a month in the hospital but has luckily recovered.
Department of Justice prosecutors explained in a news release that Seneca, 19, was also accused of kidnapping a second man and attempting to kidnap a third victim. A federal grand jury indicted Seneca on six charges, including “hate crime with attempt to kill.”
The details below are graphic.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Seneca Described the Grindr App as His ‘Hunting Ground’ & Confessed He Had Intended on Killing the Victim
Seneca was arrested on June 20, 2020, in connection to his confessed attack on 18-year-old Holden White. Seneca later pleaded “not guilty” to an attempted murder charge, KATC-TV reported. Prosecutors in the 15th Judicial District Court added a hate crime charge in January 2021, according to The Acadiana Advocate. The FBI joined the case soon after that.
A grand jury indicted Seneca on six additional federal charges on March 18, which was filed in the Louisiana Western District Court. According to the federal criminal complaint, Seneca admitted in separate interviews with a Lafayette Police Department detective and an FBI agent that he had planned to kill White. The complaint notes that Seneca was read his Miranda rights before both interviews and agreed to talk to officials without a lawyer present.
Seneca explained he met White on the dating app Grindr. He said they also communicated over Snapchat. White explained to KLFY-TV in January that he and Seneca chatted for about a month before they agreed to meet in-person.
Seneca said he invited White to hang out at his father’s house in Lafayette because he knew the house would be empty. Seneca said his father was “working off-shore at the time.”
But Seneca admitted to investigators that rather than having a date, he lured White to the house with the intention of murdering him and dismembering the body. Seneca told the FBI agent he considered the Grindr app to be his “hunting ground.”
According to the criminal complaint, Seneca told the police detective he convinced White to put on handcuffs and go into the bathroom for a “sexual encounter.” Seneca added to the story when he spoke with the FBI agent a few days later, explaining that he had also held a gun to White’s back.
White recalled the situation differently months later. He told KLFY-TV that he and Seneca had been playing video games; he did not mention handcuffs. White said Seneca briefly left the room, came back with a cord and suddenly wrapped it around White’s neck.
Seneca admitted that he “strangled White from behind until White was unconscious” and placed him in the bathtub.
2. Seneca Said He Had Intended to Keep White’s Hands as a Trophy But Started Crying, Changed His Mind & Called 911
Seneca explained to investigators that once he had White in the bathtub, he stripped the victim’s clothes off before slicing the victim’s wrists down to the bone. Seneca confessed that his plan had been to “remove and preserve White’s hands,” according to the criminal complaint.
But Seneca said he couldn’t go any further after seeing “the bones of White’s wrists exposed under the flesh.” Seneca claimed he started crying and told himself “not to bitch out.” He said he apologized to White for all that had transpired and told White to “let go… I’m setting you free.”
White told KLFY-TV in January 2021 that he had regained consciousness for part of this. He told the TV station he remembered waking up in the bathtub as Seneca cut his wrists. White said he was convinced he was about to die and remembers telling himself to remain calm.
Seneca called 911 and told the dispatcher someone had been strangled. According to the criminal complaint, Seneca made additional statements to the dispatcher including “I really f***** up my life tonight” and “I tried to control everything so good.” He also said “I don’t want to be killed” and “I just want help.” Seneca later told investigators his statements were par of his “effort to be put into a mental institution.”
3. White Spent Weeks in the Hospital & Has Regained the Use of His Hands
According to the criminal complaint, Seneca was standing outside of the house smoking a cigarette when Lafayette Police Department officers arrived. The officers found White naked in the bathtub with strangulation marks around his neck and his wrists cut open to the bone. He also had several stab wounds in his neck, the Metro Weekly reported. Weapons including an ice pick, saw, hammer and knife were found near the bathtub.
White was rushed to Lafayette General Medical Center. As KLFY-TV reported in January, White was placed on a ventilator and was in a coma for three days. He remained at the hospital for nearly a month and has been undergoing physical therapy to regain the use of his hands, which doctors were luckily able to save.
White explained to the outlet that he believed Seneca’s actions constituted a hate crime because Seneca had chosen to go on an app designed for gay and bisexual men. White said he was working to move on from the traumatic experience and not allow it to control the rest of his life.
After the attack, White’s sister started a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for medical expenses and to help support her brother throughout his recovery. The campaign raised more than $112,000.
4. Prosecutors Said Seneca Tried to Hide His Crimes by Deleting Messages Between Himself & the Victim
Before first responders arrived at his father’s house, Seneca took out his phone and deleted messages he had exchanged with White over Grindr, according to the criminal complaint. Seneca told the detective he did this in an attempt to “get rid of things.”
The federal indictment does not provide detail about the two other victims Seneca interacted with during this same time period. Prosecutors noted in the news release that “on June 19 and 20, 2020, Seneca attempted to kidnap one man and successfully kidnapped two other men through his use of Grindr, a dating application for gay and bisexual men.”
The statement further explains that “the defendant possessed a firearm in furtherance of the hate crime, and that he tried to cover up his actions by deleting communications between himself and the victim of the attempted murder.” It was not clear whether Seneca physically assaulted the other two men.
Prosecutors said the grand jury decided to indict Seneca on federal charges “based on his attempted murder of a gay man and his overarching scheme to kidnap and murder gay men whom he met online.” The charges include:
- Hate crime with attempt to kill
- Possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence
- Kidnapping (2 counts)
- Attempted Kidnapping
- Obstruction by destruction of records
Seneca faces a possible sentence of life in prison if convicted.
5. Seneca Had a Picture of Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer as His Facebook Profile Photo
HATE CRIME INDICTMENT: Update on Chance Seneca, the teen accused of attacking a teen in Lafayette as part of an alleged plan to "kidnap and murder gay men"
Shocking detail: Seneca allegedly wanted to "dismember and keep parts of the victim’s body as trophies, mementos and food" pic.twitter.com/qvXOztGk6K
— Kevin Foster (@kevtoddfos) March 18, 2021
Jeffrey Dahmer is the infamous serial killer who confessed to murdering at least 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. As History explained, Dahmer dismembered his victims and there was evidence that he also ate some of his victims. Dahmer was arrested in 1991 and sentenced to multiple life terms behind bars, according to Biography. He was killed by a fellow inmate in 1994.
Seneca appeared to either idolize Dahmer or at least be very interested in Dahmer’s case. According to Metro Weekly, Seneca used a picture of Dahmer as his profile photo for several months, dating back to October 2019.
The magazine included a screenshot of Seneca’s Facebook account. The account appears to have been deleted or suspended since then.