Police in Seattle, Washington, have again said they are not investigating the death of a young gay man who died after injecting silicone into his body. This comes after the man’s death certificate was updated. His cause of death is now listed as ‘accidental’ rather than ‘natural’.
Last month, Gay Star News was the first news outlet to report on the death of Jack Chapman.
The 28-year-old man was originally from Australia but had relocated to Seattle, Washington, US.
He built up a significant social media following with photos of his muscular body and body modifications.
His death was caused through the use of silicone. He used it to boost the size and appearance of his genitals.
Chapman (who changed his name to Tank Heathcliff Hafertepen in 2016) died on the morning of 15 October at Seattle’s Swedish Medical Center.
His initial death certificate listed his cause of death as silicone injection syndrome. This led to internal bleeding in his lungs and acute respiratory distress. It stated his cause of death as being ‘natural’.
Chapman was not autopsied by the local medical examiner. A spokesperson for the medical examiner’s officer told Gay Star News when we ran our original story that they don’t tend to get involved if someone dies from ‘natural’ causes.
Instead, Chapman’s body was cremated two days after his death. Local police have consistently stated that they are not investigating Chapman’s death.
People have turned to silicone for cheap cosmetic procedures to try and add volume to parts of their body, often their buttocks. However, it is a highly dangerous procedure, and in the US is often carried out by poorly-licensed practitioners using industrial strength silicone.
If silicone enters into your bloodstream, it can be quickly carried around your body and cause catastrophic damage. Those found guilty of administering liquid silicone can face criminal proceedings.
Tank’s body modifications
Chapman has previously posted images of himself with enlarged genitalia. He was known for injecting large quantities of saline solution into his scrotum. He also significantly transformed his body after relocating to the US, significantly increasing in muscle mass. It is unknown if steroids played any role in this.
It’s not known where Chapman’s silicone injections were administered, who did them or where the silicone came from.
On Tumblr postings, Chapman had talked about injecting silicone into his scrotum and penis.
‘What’s my secret? Since November 2014, I’ve been having liquid silicone injected into my penis and scrotum under the supervision of a healthcare professional, who has high amount of experience performing this procedure,’ he said in one posting.
An anonymous Tumblr user asked: ‘Can I ask who and where you got your silicone done?’
Chapman replied: ‘I have a guy in Sacramento who is a champ…’
Updated death certificate
Chapman’s original death certificate said the silicone injection took place in the ‘days’ leading up to his death.
However, the updated death certificate was obtained by Chapman’s mother, Linda. She is still determined that Jack’s death is fully investigated by US authorities.
The updated death certificate includes some key amendments.
The reference to ‘Silicone injection syndrome’ has been changed to ‘silicone embolism syndrome’. It indicates the subcutaneous [beneath the skin] injection took place at 3am at Chapman’s home address on 9 October – the same day he was admitted to hospital.
Instead of stating he died of ‘natural’ causes, the death certificate now says he died an ‘accidental’ death.
Chapman was in a pup/master BDSM relationship with Dylan Hafertepen (widely known as ‘noodlesandbeef’ on various social media platforms). BDSM relates to a variety of erotic practices and roleplaying, including bondage, dominance and submission.
Chapman lived in Seattle with Hafertepen and four other men with whom Hafertepen has relationships.
Since Chapman’s death, there has been much speculation online around the circumstances surrounding his death.
Gay Star News contacted Hafertepen when we ran our original story to ask him for comment. When asked about the role of silicone in Chapman’s death, he declined to proceed with the interview. He said: ‘Tank was an incredible man and I don’t want him remembered by the thing that contributed to his death.’
We have approached him again for further comment and are awaiting response.
However, in written statements to Buzzfeed, Hafertepen has now addressed some of the speculation. He describes it as ‘misinformation’ and ‘conspiracy theories’.
Some have commented on the existence of a written master-pup ‘contract’ between Chapman and Hafertepen.
According to Tumblr postings, this stated Chapman ‘submit to all orders for body modifications, including piercings, tattoos, scrotal saline inflation as well as body growth supplements including steroids and HGH – in accordance to the wishes of the Master.’
Hafertepen told Buzzfeed this was nothing more than ‘a piece of erotic fiction written by Tank, featuring some of his submissive fantasies.’
‘In my grief, I was furious and denied anything was wrong’
Hafertepen also told Buzzfeed he didn’t force Chapman to inject silicone and helped him to get some removed in May of this year.
Rumors of Chapman’s passing began to circulate quickly among some of those who knew him online. It was a day after his death when an announcement was posted to his Facebook page.
Questioned on why he didn’t immediately tell people about Chapman’s death and appeared to suggest he was still alive in some messages and postings in the immediate hours after his passing, Hafertepen said, ‘I regret this. In my grief, I was furious and denied anything was wrong while aimlessly trying to find out the source. It was a mistake and I apologize to those I misled.’
Dispute over will
Chapman’s mother, Linda, has retained a Seattle-based lawyer, Catherine Clark, to contest her son’s will. This was reportedly changed three weeks before his death.
Chapman was previously left AUS$200,000 ($145,000 €128,000) by his late father when he died. Moreover, his mother believes that if he died, he intended to leave the money to his autistic brother, Ben, in Australia. The amended will left his entire estate to Dylan Hafertepen.
Hafertepen says Chapman used some of his inheritance to relocate to the US. He told Buzzfeed the rest would be used to pay Tank’s medical and legal bills and he’d give the rest to Chapman’s brother. ‘Tank had wanted the money (roughly AUS$150,000) to go towards our home together, but without Tank it’s a reminder of what I’ve lost.’
Yesterday, Seattle Police issued an updated statement about Chapman’s death.
‘The Seattle Police Department has received numerous inquiries regarding a recent and widely publicized case involving the untimely death of a young man.
‘The young man was at a hospital and under the care of a physician when he died, and the King County Medical Examiner has ruled that the cause of death was accidental.
‘The Seattle Police Department has reviewed the medical file related to this death, as well as concerns from the community, and concur with the Medical Examiner’s findings. In keeping with the findings, the department does not have jurisdiction and cannot investigate cases where cause of death is accidental.
‘The department would like to express its sympathy to the man’s family, friends and loved ones.’
Main image: Cropped image from tankhafertepen.com – license: CC BY-ND 4.0
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