The death of a gay teenager in Minnesota at the weekend was not caused by suicide, the boy’s father has told a local TV station after the media reported that his son took his own life as a result of homophobic bullying.
18-year-old Lance Lundsten of Miltona, Minnesota died on Saturday evening and was immediately reported on Facebook as being as a result of suicide. A Sheriff’s office source initially confirmed to KSAX TV that they were treating the death as suicide. Lundsten’s Facebook profile, that has now been removed, reportedly stated that he was gay.
The reports prompted Minnesota senator Al Franken to offer his condolences to the teenager’s family and called for better protection of LGBT students from homophobic bullying. “My heart goes out to Lance’s family, and friends and loved ones. It’s a tragic event, not only for them, but for the school, and the Alexandria community and really for all of us. LGBT kids really do need (more) protection.
“They’re two or three times more likely than straight kids to get bullied. Nine in ten LGBT students said they’ve been bullied or harassed and almost two-thirds say they don’t feel safe in school.”
Mr Lundsten senior told KSAX that he had been told by the coroner that his son had an enlarged heart and died of a coronary edema. He added that there were no signs of drugs or alcohol in his son’s system although the full results of the toxicology report have yet to be finalised.
A spokesman for the coroner’s office declined to comment to KSAX TV.
MILTONA, Minn. - The news of a high school student's suicide began circling social networking sites Monday morning, after the news began spreading that 18-year-old Jefferson High School student Lance Lundsten had died.
Around 10 p.m. Saturday the Douglas County Sheriff's Office responded to an emergency call at the Lundsten's residence in Miltona.
When officers arrived, they discovered 18-year-old Lance Lundsten needing emergency medical care. Lundsten was transported to the Douglas County Hospital where he later died.
The Sheriff's Office confirmed to KSAX that they believed Lundsten's death was a suicide. The Sheriff would not confirm the nature of the medical emergency.
According to his Facebook page, Lundsten was openly gay. On a Facebook memorial page in Lundsten's honor, friends said that Lundsten had been bullied at school for his sexual orientation. Some students who knew Lundsten believed the bullying may have led to his suicide.
Another Jefferson HIgh School student started a Facebook group following Lundsten's death called the Jefferson Anti-Bully Coalition.
Lundsten's funeral is set for Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria.