Memorial service for five slain children Friday
Siblings died in blaze set by their father
Originally published May 5, 2011 at 5:11 p.m., updated May 5, 2011 at 9:27 p.m.
Memorial services will be held this afternoon for five Vancouver children who died in an Easter morning fire set by their father.
Nolan Dao, 12; twins Noah and Jacob Dao, 9; Samantha Dao, 8; and Nathan Dao, 6, will be remembered during the 2 p.m. service at Summit View Church, 7701 N.E. 182 Ave., in Vancouver.
Family of the children’s mother, Lori Dao, requested media not attend the service, church officials said. They also asked service attendees not bring cameras or cellphones.
Police say Tuan Dao, 37, set the blaze that killed him and his five children Easter morning because he was distraught over financial woes and his failing marriage. Tuan Dao’s family said he had anxieties about losing custody of his children after being arrested for a domestic violence-related incident March 30.
Tuan Dao’s wife, Lori Dao, and eldest daughter, Alena, 13, are the only surviving members of the immediate family.
Lori Dao moved out the family’s home at 15304 N.E. 13th Circle following her husband’s arrest for fourth-degree assault and reckless endangerment. She also obtained a protective order requiring her husband to stay at least 500 feet away from her.
Lori Dao’s family has refused repeated requests from The Columbian to speak about the children or the circumstances of their death. But an obituary that ran Thursday’s newspaper featured fond descriptions of each of the five.
The Dao’s oldest son, Nolan, had the “patience and tenacity” to “assemble the most difficult of projects.” His twin brothers, Noah and Jacob, each excelled at soccer and practiced taekwondo, but had different personalities. Noah was described as “the peacemaker and pleaser,” while Jacob was “the sensitive one.”
The couple’s youngest daughter, Samantha, was remembered for her politeness, penmanship and love of jewelry. She aspired to be a teacher.
The baby of the family, Nathan, held a special place next to his mother, “snuggling for warmth and security.”
“All these children will be missed and leave this world with memories of their gifts and talents yet to be discovered to the fullest,” the death notice said.
During an interview earlier this week, Tuan Dao’s brother, Mike Vo, also spoke highly of the children.
“They were just the best kids,” Vo said, noting they had a calm demeanor like their father. “I don’t even have words to describe how good they were.”
In the children’s obituary, Lori Dao’s family thanked the community for their support in the wake of the tragedy.
“We are deeply affected by our caring community and wish only to express our gratitude for all you have done,” the death notice said.
Ray Legendre: 360-735-4517, email@example.com//twitter.com/col_smallcities.