VOONG firstname.lastname@example.org_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2007-10-16 published
Two bodies found in blazing van
Police waiting to question badly burned man who ran to nearby house to summon help
By Timothy APPLEBY and Jessica RAFUSE, Page A13
A brick bungalow on a quiet Scarborough street was under the microscope of homicide detectives yesterday as they probed the late-night discovery of two bodies inside a blazing van on a remote, dead-end country road in King Township, charred beyond recognition.
A badly burned man who managed to escape the inferno and stagger to a nearby house for help was in hospital under sedation. Police were still waiting to question him to determine whether he and the other two occupants of the van were victims of a murder, a botched murder-suicide attempt or some type of bizarre accident.
Further thickening the mystery was an unconfirmed report that the Scarborough house to which the van was traced housed a marijuana operation.
No names were released, pending identification of the victims and notification of next of kin.
CTV News reported that the injured man's name is Bao MAC, 46, and that his wife, Jocelyn, and daughter, Ashta, about eight or nine years old, died in the burning van.
Constable Laurie PERKS of York Regional Police would not confirm reports that the dead were the man's spouse and daughter. She did say, however, that no suspects were immediately being sought. "It's weird, a very odd one, this."
By later afternoon, the two bodies were still in the van, protected by a temporary canopy amid a thicket of trees. A source familiar with the investigation said the pair were burned so badly that an accelerant may have been used, and that DNA tests rather than dental records might have to be relied on to confirm their identity and establish how, when and where they perished.
Shortly before midnight Sunday evening, police responded to an emergency call that brought them to an address near the Seventh Concession and the Sixteenth Sideroad, west of Highway 400.
"A fellow had approached the gates of a gated home and buzzed the intercom, requesting the lady to call 911," Constable PERKS said.
"He had come from a van that when we arrived was fully engulfed in flames. The officers tried to extinguish the fire but were unable to. At the end, when the fire department extinguished it, we found the bodies of two people inside, burned beyond recognition."
The vehicle was registered to a home on Barnsley Court in Scarborough, near Warden Avenue and Ellesmere Road, cordoned off by yellow tape yesterday as police detectives examined it.
Property records show that the house was purchased last year for $324,000 by Mui Xui VOONG. But it was unclear whether Mr. VOONG lived in the home or had rented it out.
As police questioned everybody leaving and entering the street, neighbours described a quiet Canadian-Chinese household that was home to a couple and two young daughters. One resident said the man of the house was a self-employed contractor named Kim.
Children's bicycles were propped alongside the home, a swing set was in the yard and patio chairs and a barbecue were perched on a new deck.
Morris CHANCE, whose backyard adjoins the property, voiced dismay that tragedy had struck the peaceful neighbourhood where he has lived for more than 30 years.
"They're just normal, quiet people," he said. "It's shocking news. He was a really nice guy, always smiling, saying 'hi.'"
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