An unidentified man, dubbed Sixty-Six Garage, has been on life support in a Coronado nursing home for 15 years.
An unidentified man, dubbed Sixty-Six Garage, has been on life support in a Coronado nursing home for 15 years.

They were so close.

Just weeks ago, officials were optimistic they had a strong lead on identifying a John Doe who has been on life support for the past 15 years in a Coronado nursing home. They were waiting for DNA confirmation.

[one_half][box type=”shadow this-matters”]Nursing home staff wants to identify a man who has been on life support for 15 years so he can be reunited with his family.[/box][/one_half]

The man, dubbed 66 Garage, is minimally conscious and has been kept alive with breathing and feeding tubes since 1999, the year the vehicle he was traveling in crashed near the border.

Representatives of elected officials, border enforcement, the Mexican consulate and a nursing home formed a committee to track down Garage’s true identity.

A forensics team from U.S. Customs and Border Protection gathered Garage’s biometrics — his fingerprints, facial scans and other physical information. They ran the scans through customs’ database and got a name.

Mexican officials helped track down a person in Mexico believed to be a relative, and the committee believed all that was left to make a positive identification was DNA testing.

“We haven’t heard from the source (relative) who is in Mexico,” said Ed Kirkpatrick, director of the Villa Coronado Skilled Nursing Facility, where Garage lives.

Kirkpatrick isn’t sure why the possible relative’s DNA was not sent to the lab.

“But we’re working through Border Angels and other groups … and hope that connection will prove to be more fruitful later on,” he said.

Border Angels is a migrant advocacy group led by Enrique Morones. He asked a spectrum of people and their agencies for help after inewsource published a story about Garage in May.

Kirkpatrick says no one is giving up hope that Garage will eventually get his name and identity back.

Garage is one of more than 4,000 people on life support in California nursing homes. inewsource first reported on this population last year in a special series, An Impossible Choice.

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

3 replies on “ID of man on life support at Coronado facility remains elusive”

  1. How discouraging. I remember hoping a year ago that 66 Garage would have his identity confirmed by now.

  2. Ugh – the design for this site is atrocious and unprofessional. WTF? The type styles are conflicting, the leading is off all throughout the site, and the quotation marks are mismatched as well. These comments are mentioned after a quick glance, it is too overwhelming to look at any more.

    If the team here is going to pursue investigative journalism of and against local institutions — then you need to get your own house in order. Post Haste.

  3. I’m glad that the identity of 66 Garage is now known and that his family in Mexico knows his fate.

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