Update: Hundreds gather to remember five children
Friday, May 6, 2011
Hundreds of mourners filed into the Summit View Church in Vancouver on Friday afternoon to pay their last respects to five siblings who died in an Easter-morning fire set by their father.
The 90-minute memorial service remembered the lives of Nolan Dao, 12; twins Noah and Jacob Dao, 9; Samantha Dao, 8; and Nathan Dao, 6. The children’s family requested that media not attend the service, church officials said.
Officials with Summit View Church, 7701 N.E. 182nd Ave., asked media to stay off their property. The church’s spacious parking lot appeared around three-quarters full.
Police say the children’s father, Tuan Dao, set the blaze that killed them in their home at 15304 N.E. 13th Circle. Dao, 37, also died in the fire.
The fire was the deadliest in modern Vancouver history, fire officials said.
Police believe Tuan Dao set the fire because he was distressed over failing finances and a recent separation from Lori Dao, his wife of 15 years. Tuan Dao’s brother, Mike Vo, said his brother worried he would lose custody of his children after his March 30 arrest in connection with a domestic dispute with his wife.
Lori Dao, 33, and their eldest daughter, Alena, 13, are the only immediate family members remaining. Lori Dao had moved out of the couple’s home shortly after March 30 and obtained a protective order against her husband, requiring him to stay at least 500 feet away from her.
Lori Dao’s family has declined comment on the children, the fire that killed them or their father.
The children’s family remembered them fondly in an obituary that ran in Thursday’s Columbian.
Nolan was praised for his “patience and tenacity.” The twins, Noah and Jacob, were remembered for their soccer and karate exploits. In addition, Noah was described as “the peacemaker and pleaser,” while Jacob was “the sensitive one.”
The death notice also recalled Samantha’s politeness, penmanship and love of jewelry and Nathan’s special place next to his mother, “snuggling for warmth and security.”