Louisiana Man Pleads Guilty to Kidnapping Gay Man in Connection with Scheme to Kidnap and Murder Dating App Users

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Published September 30, 2022

Louisiana Man Pleads Guilty to Kidnapping Gay Man in Connection with Scheme to Kidnap and Murder Dating App Users

An update to this case was published on January 26, 2023. Follow this link to read the update.

Lafayette, Louisiana – The Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of Louisiana announced that Chance Seneca, 21, of Lafayette, Louisiana, pleaded guilty on September 30, 2022 before U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays, to one count of kidnapping.

Seneca stated in his plea deal that on June 20, 2020, he utilized Grindr, a dating app for homosexual and bisexual men, to kidnap and attempt to murder H.W., a gay male. Seneca specifically acknowledged that he utilized Grindr to propose a meeting with H.W. and that he drove H.W. to a remote house, pulled out a handgun, and ordered him to put on handcuffs. Seneca then tried to kill and dismember H.W. Seneca admitted that he planned to murder and dismember H.W. to satiate his homicidal inclinations and that he intended to continue murdering until he was captured or died.

“The actions and intentions of the defendant in this case were shocking,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The internet should be accessible and safe for all Americans, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. The Justice Department will continue to identify and hold accountable anyone who uses online spaces as a means to terrorize or abuse others.”

“The facts surrounding the events that took place in this case are very disturbing,” said U.S. Attorney Brandon B. Brown for the Western District of Louisiana. “It is nothing short of miraculous that the victims who endured the vicious attacks from this defendant survived. We will continue to fight to seek justice for victims who suffer at the hands of defendants such as this.”

The statutory maximum sentence for kidnapping is life in prison. Seneca will undergo more scrutiny under the U.S. If the sentencing court decides beyond a reasonable doubt that he purposefully chose the victim because of the victim’s actual or perceived gender or sexual orientation, he will be sentenced under the Sentencing Guidelines. The sentencing date is set for January 25, 2023.

The statement was delivered by Assistant Attorney General Clarke, U.S. Attorney Brown, and Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s New Orleans Field Office, Douglas A. Williams Jr.

The inquiry was carried out by the FBI and the Lafayette Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Deputy Criminal Chief Myers Namie of the Western District of Louisiana and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Thomas Johnson.