Another family makes claim on John Doe on life support
Most of the 62 men and women living on Villa Coronado’s two life-support units are here because of brain injuries from car and motorcycle crashes, falls, fights and strokes. Photo by Brad Racino

Another family makes claim on John Doe on life support

Another woman, this time from Northern California, believes a John Doe who has been on life support for more than 14 years at the Villa Coronado Skilled Nursing Facility may be her missing brother.

She is the second person in the past three months to come forward, believing he is a lost relative, and the seventh to make such a claim since he’s been in care, according to nursing home officials.

The man is unable to walk or talk. He was severely brain injured in a car accident near the Mexico/U.S. border more than 14 years ago and has been on life support ever since.

In September, a woman who lives in Texas, Yolanda Ibarra Lara, contacted Villa Coronado after she saw an old YouTube video a about a young man — brain injured and nameless — in a San Diego hospital.

He looked like her brother, Gilberto Ceron Lara, and it gave her hope he could still be alive.

Ceron Lara went missing after he told his family he was going to try to cross into the U.S. near Laredo, Texas from Mexico.

And then last week, a second family called the nursing home after seeing a news report about the unidentified man.

(They) think they also recognize him,” said Scott Mann, a senior attorney with Sharp HealthCare, the company which manages Villa Coronado.

“Their last contact with him would have been right around the same time that this patient, we believe, got injured,” Mann said.

The man arrived at the UCSD Medical Center in 1999 unconscious. He spent a year in a coma and then went to live at Villa Coronado.

He is one of 4,000 people in California kept alive with breathing and feeding tubes in special nursing home units. These units were featured in an inewsource report broadcast nationally in September.

Statewide, seven men and one woman are John and Jane Does, according to the California Department of Health Care Services.

Ibarra Lara, the Texas woman, is currently waiting for DNA test results to learn whether the man is her brother. It could take up to several weeks, Mann said.

Mann offered to also do DNA testing for the woman in California and she is currently considering that option, he said.

The Border Patrol reports that hundreds of migrants are found dead every year along the U.S. – Mexican border.

Many are never identified, according to the Colibrí Center for Human Rights in Arizona.

The Colibri Center attempts to identify remains and reunite them with their families. It has a database of 1,500 missing people last seen near the border.

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About Joanne Faryon:

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