Country and Cajun Legends Tracy Byrd, Jerry Jeff Walker and Wayne Toups join a host of other entertainers to raise money for reconstructive surgery for 4-year-old Holden Gothia. Holden was mutilated by his mother when he was an infant.  

It is estimated that Holden’s lifelong medical needs will exceed half a million dollars. A foundation, Heroes for Holden, was created to collect donations. The first of a yearly fundraiser will take place Sunday, June 5, at the Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles, La.

One of Holden’s aunts, Cindy Vallet, lives in Orange. She and other area citizens have joined the effort to raise funds for Holden’s surgeries.

Holden’s story is unbelievable.

Authorities were called to a suburban Houston apartment in March 2007. Holden, only 5 weeks old, was found lying on a bed with the lower half of his body covered in blood. He was viciously attacked by his biological mother. She was found to be in a drug-induced state at the time.

Holden narrowly survived. His genitals were entirely severed. He was listed in critical condition, treated for shock and put on a ventilator for several weeks. Holden underwent extensive surgery after losing as much as three quarters of the blood from his tiny seven pound body. An artery in his left leg had to be immediately repaired. Holden endured four skin graft operations within a week.

The day after the attack, Holden’s mother tested positive for cocaine, methadone and Xanax.

She began trial on Aug. 1, 2009 in a Houston courtroom. His mother claimed that the family’s nine pound dachshund had attacked him while she slept in the same room.
Doctors testified that the injury was cut in a perfectly square shape and was made by a sharp object. 

Animal experts testified that the injuries were not consistent with that of a dog bite.
Paramedics see the worst that trauma can do, but the memory of 5-week-old baby Holden brought a paramedic to tears as he testified on the stand to the extent of  Holden’s injuries. 
Another paramedic told the jury “It was like someone had taken an ice cream scooper and taken some of the baby’s thigh and meat.”

On Friday, Aug. 14, 2009, after three hours of deliberation, the jury found her guilty of all charges. She was sentenced to 99 years in prison.

Holden now lives in the safe and loving care of his paternal aunt and uncle, Patches and Kent DeShazo of Deer Park. They are doing everything they can to make his life as normal as possible. 

Due to complications from the severed artery, Holden wears a lift on his left shoe. Doctors say that his left leg may end up to be as much as six inches shorter than the other. He just had another surgery two months ago to lengthen the tendon in his heal and now wears a brace on his lower left leg 23 hours a day. 

Holden will need a series of genital reconstructive operations, most of which will be paid out of pocket by Holden’s family. Starting at puberty, he will also need to start hormone therapy, which will continue for the rest of his life.

Meeting Holden’s medical needs is the foundation’s short term goal.

The long-term goal is to assist as many children as possible with unpaid medical bills and other necessary expenses.  The foundation’s mission is that Heroes for Holden will become much larger than one little boy…that it will become his legacy. Something beautiful will have grown out of something so heinous.

It has taken a year of planning. A great list of entertainers has been put together. Donations have been collected for a live and silent auction. Barbecue is on the menu. Volunteers are hoping to provide a great day of entertainment while raising funds for the foundation. Von Cook and Dale Mann will co-emcee the event.

Here is a tentative schedule; however, it is subject to change:

11 a.m. to noon –     DJ and Emcee                                       
12 to 12:45 p.m. –    Skeeter Jones and the Beer Can Band     
12:55 to 1:40 p.m. – Damon Troy                                           
1:45 to 3 p.m. –        Introductions, Announcements, Video and Presentations
3 to 4 p.m. –             Foret Tradition and Jivin’ Gene                 
4:10 to 5:10 p.m.     Zona Jones                                           
5:10 to 7 p.m. –       Video, Introduction, Truck Raffle and Auction                                      7 – 8 p.m. –              Tracy Byrd                                             
8- 9 p.m. –               Jerry Jeff Walker                                     
9 -10 p.m. –             Wayne Toups                                         

They have lots of auction items. The live auction will be kept to a minimum of items to keep things moving. A few of those are:  8 days 7 nights in Cozumel; an autographed and framed jersey by Nolan Ryan; an autographed guitar by Easton Corbin, several guns, an autographed guitar signed by all the entertainment at the benefit; a Colorado trip; men’s alligator boots; and round trip tickets on Continental and Southwest Airlines.

In the silent auction there are: purses, jewelry, and custom coolers, barbecue pits, an Alabama beach trip, men’s and women’s watches, fishing trips, hunting trips, MSU baseball camp and many more items.

Concert tickets are $25 donation. Barbecue dinners are $8 donation. Raffle tickets for the drawing of a new Ford F-150 truck are $100. Only 600 tickets are available. There will be photo Sessions with Von Cook Images available and also a Poker Run with OBOTS.

For more information on the “All Star Benefit Concert” including ticket sales or to make a donation (via credit card or PayPal) go to or Facebook/Heroes for Holden.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.