Hon W. Pan, also known as John Doe #214 was the possible name of an Asian male who burned to death with his dog after a wildfire in Sylmar in 2008.
The decedent was homeless and was known to be well-mannered, timid and friendly. He lived in a small wooden house. The man was killed in 2008 Marek fire, along with his dog, he died of smoke inhalation. Miguel "Wizard" Ambriz was suspected to be the decedent but was ruled out as he was found to be in custody the same time of the fire.
A white homeless man, aged between 45 and 50 who owned a white dog was suspected of being the decedent and had his name tracked. Detectives showed the photo of the white man to a liquor store owner, the owner told them of a transient who never returned to the area after the blaze and confirmed that the photo was the person he was talking about, but apparently the white homeless man returned alive, sleeping outside the store.
Detectives returned to Foothill Boulevard and began hearing more information about an Asian man who had not been seen after the fire, but they were sceptical because relatively few Asians lived in the area. Apparently the Asian male was a Vietnamese homeless man, who was often seen pushing a shopping cart and rummaging through dumpsters for recyclables. Sometimes he had a dog and sometimes was observed reading a newspaper, near a tree. Marcos Duarte talked to the Asian male, who apparently had poor English. Some people had contact with him but did not establish a name. Wilmer De Leon, an employee at Leo's Recycling Inc declared he knew a homeless Asian man because he would drop off recyclables there.
The Asian homeless man said he had come from Vietnam "many years ago" and had been in California for only four years. He told him he had no family in the area, and would often read a newspaper while De Leon worked, approaching him to point out articles about Vietnam. De Leon did not know the man's name by memory but could identify by signature.
A search of sign-in sheets, which were required to sign before collecting money, turned up a name of Hon W. Pan, and De Leon confirmed it was the Vietnamese man's name and signature. Apparently, after running the name through local, state and national databases, investigators and officials declared that the name was not connected to John Doe #214.
- He was likely of Vietnamese origin
- He spoke little English
- He was "short, thin"
- He may have owned dogs
- He was homeless.