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Bullied gay teen in Minnesota commits suicide

Monday, January 17, 2011

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated since its original posting.

Lance Lundsten

MILTONA, Minn. — We’ve lost another beautiful life to bullying. Lance Lundsten, 18, an openly gay student at Jefferson High School, took his life over the weekend. Friends say that Lance suffered extreme bullying and harassment for years.

Around 10 p.m. Saturday, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office responded to an emergency call at the Lundsten’s residence in Miltona, Minnesota.

When officers arrived, they discovered Lance needing emergency medical care. Lance was transported to the Douglas County Hospital where he later died.

The Sheriff’s Office confirmed to KSAX-TV that they believed Lundsten’s death was a suicide. The Sheriff would not confirm the nature of the medical emergency.

According to KSAX, Lundsten had revealed on Facebook that he was openly gay, and some students at his high school said he was bullied for his sexual orientation.

Lance’s friends have created a new facebook group after the news of his death, called the “Jefferson Anti-Bully Coalition.”

Even if his school didn’t help Lance survive the bullying, the group of friends is pushing to do their part. The page reads “Here to stand up for everyone who needs defending. The school’s staff isn’t protecting us, it’s up to the students to help each other.”

Friends have also set up a memorial page for Lance on Facebook.

No word yet from Jefferson High School, where sexual orientation is not included in the school’s “anti-bullying” handbook.

Update, January 18, 2011: Lance’s father called KSAX-TV and said he received a call from the coroner saying Lance had an enlarged heart and died of a coronary edema. Lance’s father said he believed it was not a suicide.

He also believed there were no signs of drugs or alcohol in his son’s system, but the toxicology report has not been finished, according the medical examiner’s office. The medical examiner’s office also said they had no comment about the phone call to Lance’s father.

Update, January 19, 2011: The preliminary findings in the autopsy performed on Lance showed the teen did not die from an enlarged heart, according to Douglas County Medical Examiner Dr. Mark Spanbauer, reports KSAX-TV.

The teen’s heart was slightly enlarged, but that finding was a secondary finding to an undetermined cause, according to Spanbauer. It is not yet known what actually caused Lundsten’s heart to slightly swell, as the final autopsy report was still in progress.

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55 more reader comments:

  1. no… :’(

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:12pm
  2. Oh god my heart feels broken not again =( RIP

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:13pm
  3. When are people going to stop being such effin’ a-holes!?! >:-( Rest in peace Lance. :-(

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:13pm
  4. Wow smh…. This is unbelievable

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:13pm
  5. this breaks my heart to see this, everytime I see this I seriously shed a tear :(

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:13pm
  6. Omg thats horrible

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:13pm
  7. this has to stop.

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:14pm
  8. so mr. rochester, you like the fact that a teenager committed suicide?

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:14pm
  9. ridiculous. kids need to get a clue and stop bein ignorant to people -__-

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:14pm
  10. My heart goes out to his family;
    but i still don’t understand why it took til 2010 for this kind of thing to make it to news.

    It’s already known that 90% of suicides happen because of gay-related issues. And it hasn’t been like that just in the recent years, but for a long while now. I’m glad the media is waking up to it, but… why did it take so long?
    :/

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:15pm
  11. Oh no not another one!! :’(
    R.I.P lance.
    Sometimes I feel like things are getting better then things like this happen and I see we still need a lot more progress.

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:15pm
  12. I wish hate would disappear. I would die for it to.

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:15pm
  13. Why the fuck would anybody like this? I feel like if somebody were there to hug him and say, everything gets better, give it time. Shit like this wouldn’t happen….

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:16pm
  14. times like this, make me still wish for an “unlike” option here.

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:17pm
  15. This is exactly why I’m going into Psychology. I want to be able to help LGBT youth everywhere. I want them to feel like they have a safe place to go and a good person to talk to. Things like this should never happen.

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:17pm
  16. That's exactly what I want to do!

    Replied on Friday, February 11, 2011 at 10:43pm
  17. RIP Lance<3 I wish I could've helped you, I hate seeing these posts, because no one; gay or straight should be bullied to the point of taking their lives; when is it going to stop,?

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:18pm
  18. This makes me sick. I feel so sorry for him.

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:18pm
  19. I hope to God somehow we as a people can put an end to the hatred that drives this lonely and desperate behavior.

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:19pm
  20. As an openly Pansexual girl at my school, its very difficult to see this happen. I’m lucky, I’m accepted.

    Its horrible to know that kids (who’ve probly known each other since gradeschool) could torment someone to the point of taking their own life.

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:19pm
  21. Not againnn!… very sad news.

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:21pm
  22. This makes me sad=(

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:21pm
  23. Uk its stupid to kill urself but that doesn’t mean that’s the only problem wit this…not only r people solving temporary problems with permanent solutions, but all that it being done about it is a website. N its on the news…do u think the ppl who bullied him will b punished…I doubt it

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:22pm
  24. BTW i like this post because someone is putting this information out here. I run the LGBTQS (Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Queer Supporters) at my school and they like to know when another freedom fighter falls.

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:23pm
  25. Sigh this is getting stupid. Look here you little shit dips that seem to think that everyone else is below you. You are no better than anyone. Wether he or she is gay or not. We are all equals on this earth. We are all born and we all die eventually. So i hope whom ever made this poor boy feel so terrible that he felt like the only escape was death i hope you never find happiness in this life or the next.

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:23pm
  26. so sick of stories like this…tired of people mistreating each other.

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:23pm
  27. No erik i lost a lesbian friend due to this kind of ignorance!!! smh man think!!

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:24pm
  28. I don’t see why people like this. Sucide is a serious matter. No one should be tormented enough to give their life away. People need to realize, gay people are people to and they have feelings just like everyone elese. I’m sure the people who bully have a lot of hate for themselves inside and feel like they need to bring hate on others. It’s not right.

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 9:24pm
  29. :(

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 11:30pm
  30. :’(

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 11:30pm
  31. : sooo sad this epidemic. and right the heels of the Utah Senator repealing existing anti-bullying law. jackass.

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 11:33pm
  32. :[

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 11:33pm
  33. Stories like this make people who say being gay is a choice inexcusable. If it were a choice, he wouldn’t willfully put himself in a situation prone to bullying which was a factor in his suicide. Rest in peace, where none can bully you.

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 11:33pm
  34. So tragic ..we’ve been posting about this all night..

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 11:33pm
  35. : Chris Buttars is that Utah Senator.

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 11:34pm
  36. This makes me incredibly sad that this still seems to be the answer for these young people.

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 11:36pm
  37. sad :( RIP

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 11:37pm
  38. Dislike! (via http://digsby.com/fb)

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 11:40pm
  39. thats alwful, another teen lost RIP

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 11:40pm
  40. :(

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 11:44pm
  41. This is so sad……r.i.p mabe now they will leave you alone.

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 11:46pm
  42. :’(

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 11:54pm
  43. oh my god really, this is still happening? =( It’s so sad.

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 11:55pm
  44. I have no sympathy for him. To anyone who has a problem with that, you can go fuck yourself. If someone gives half a shit about the future of the gay community then they’d stick it out, say “Ha! Fuck the bullies! I’m STRONG ENOUGH to make it through.” I have sympathy for the family, because their son and cousin and brother and grandson decided not to make it.

    Being gay isn’t a decision, but giving up is. I say fuck him. Like I said, wanna help something? Stop this bullshit, don’t fucking take your life. That doesn’t help anything. Even better? The media puts this shit out, and continues the TREND that was started some months ago.

    P.S. Yeah, I’ve been bullied, I know exactly what it feels like. Yeah, I’ve felt suicidal, I know what t hat feels like. But I was strong enough to make it through, whoever forgot about survival of the fittest needs to stop putting this shit in the media.
    P.P.S. Anyone who disagrees, feel free to let me know. Just know my only response will be “Go fuck yourself and grow up.” I stand for the gay community and its growth. Stop pulling us all down.

    Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 11:57pm
  45. @ Josh… I wish they had a double like button. I am glad to see I am not the only person who sees it this way!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 12:01am
  46. So damn sad :(

    Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 12:05am
  47. My condolences

    Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 12:06am
  48. This sickens me. Gay or Lesbian, we’re people too. Bullies are nothing but monsters.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 12:17am
  49. @josh, have you actually been bullied bc of being gay? Its not fun, and not everybody has that strength and some people can’t take it and have nowhere else to turn.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 12:24am
  50. OMG, who likes something like this??

    Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 12:26am
  51. Also, @josh go ahead and say all the shit your gonna say to me, just makes you a bully for being such an ass about having an opinion that’s different than yours. If anyone needs to grow up, its you.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 12:40am
  52. @ Josh…how cruel of you. He was 18. I am 44, and while when I did come out, I BLEW the doors of the closet and had NO issues about being gay, 18 is another thing altogether. Your cursing way of writing just shows that you don’t have the social skills and are possibly a bully yourself. It again, is a cruel thing for you to respond the way you did. I am so sorry for this young gentleman to have ended his life this way…..very, very tragic. AND it is harder to take knowing that there’s nothing we really can do to prevent more from happening. Know that you are thought of fondly by MOST of us, Lance…..Wherever you are! <3

    Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 12:46am
  53. Heartbreaking. :-(

    Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 12:52am
  54. And heartless of the people that ‘like’ this.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 12:54am
  55. I am super late to be posting, but I just finally forced myself to Google my best friend’s name.

    You’re all ridiculous. None of you knew him, why were you even sad? I say ‘were’, because none of you are anymore, right? You were for maybe a minute, you haven’t thought about it since.
    The people who say screw Lance, because he was weak, well… I agree with you. Maybe I don’t feel as strongly as you do about it, but I’ve got the same basic idea.
    Either way I wish everyone would understand that Lance’s life was not, in the least, a bad one. He brought anything and everything bad on himself. And he wasn’t alone through any of the bad- I followed that kid around since fourth grade, I was ALWAYS there to help him. Even with me there he was always feeling sorry for himself when he had nothing to feel sorry about, it was just the way he was.

    Most importantly, though, I’d like to let everyone know that Lance was not gay, openly or otherwise, nor was he bullied. I don’t know which ‘friends’ the news people talked to, but they weren’t real ones. How do I know that? Because they didn’t talk to ME. And if you’re not me, you’re not Lance’s real friend.
    For people who think I’m wrong, maybe I’ll go get a Facebook and you can talk to me about it there.

    I just can’t believe how readily people believe this stuff. And to go and make such a big deal about it with no regard as to how it hurts his family… Or me, for that matter. I hate people.

    @ Michael Freeman
    Sorry to single you out, your comment just caught my eye, you have no clue what you’re talking about. WHY would you be fond of a kid who thinks his life is so bad that he has to die…?
    If anything, you should be fond of the people who deal with things in the appropriate way and LIVE to tell the tale.

    In general, the people who kill themselves deserve to die. Yes, I am saying that my best friend, my only friend, the person I would have quite literally died for deserves to be dead.

    Posted on Thursday, June 23, 2011 at 10:47am