DNA test to determine identity of John Doe on life support
There are eight John and Jane Does among the thousands of people living on life support in California, according to the California Department of Health Care Services. Photo by Brad Racino

DNA test to determine identity of John Doe on life support

The identity of a John Doe who has lived on life support in a Coronado nursing home for the past 14 years continues to be a mystery after a fingerprint analysis was inconclusive.

Yolanda Ibarra Lara, a resident of Texas, believes the man could be her lost brother. Ibarra Lara sent the Villa Coronado Skilled Nursing Facility her brother’s military ID last month, which contained a set of his prints.

But there wasn’t enough detail in the prints to determine whether they were a match, said Scott Mann, attorney for Sharp HealthCare which operates Villa Coronado.

“We had to go back and ask them to reconsider some other form of testing,” Mann said.

Ibarra Lara’s brother, Gilberto Ceron Lara, is a Mexican citizen, so she has enlisted the help of the Mexican Consulate in San Diego to facilitate a DNA test.

Arrangements are still being made for the test, Ibarra Lara said through a translator.

inewsource broke the story about John Doe earlier this month. The report was part of a series about the thousands of people who live on life support in California nursing homes.

There are eight John and Jane Does among them, according to the California Department of Health Care Services.

Ibarra Lara last spoke with her brother in March 2000. He was 19 and was planning to cross the Mexican- U.S. border near Texas. An old news story she found on YouTube last summer gave her hope he might still be alive.

The video showed a young man in a hospital bed who was unable to walk or talk. He had been severely brain injured in a car accident near the border. He had no identification and the others in the car didn’t know his name.

Ibarra Lara believes the man in the video looks like her brother. She was able to trace him to Villa Coronado, and the nursing home confirmed a John Doe was transferred into their care from UCSD Medical Center 14 years ago.

Ibarra Lara asked the nursing home to allow her to visit John Doe, but her request was denied.

An in-person identification would not determine whether he  is Ibarra Lara’s brother because too much time has passed,  Mann said.

“As much as we want to reunite this family… we really want to be certain as is reasonably possible, before we say there is a connection,” he said.

Read the full series here.

inewsource reporter Leo Castaneda contributed to this report.

 

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About Joanne Faryon:

Joanne Faryon is a freelance reporter and former inewsource and KPBS reporter.