An unsealed court docket doc has revealed extra particulars about how a person deemed a “hazard to the general public” apparently lured girls to his Downtown Eastside condominium, the place his physique — and, later, the our bodies of a girl and a lacking Indigenous woman — had been discovered final 12 months.
The CBC went to court docket in November 2022 to unseal a search warrant executed by the Vancouver Police Division (VPD) in Van Chung Pham’s dwelling in February 2021, as officers investigated a criticism of sexual assault.
Pham was charged with the offence in February 2022, only a week earlier than police discovered his physique within the suite at 405 Heatley Ave. the place they’d later uncover the stays of 14-year-old Noelle O’Soup and the unnamed girl — which they missed when officers discovered Pham.
The deaths of Noelle, of the Key First Nation in Saskatchewan, and the unnamed girl stay underneath investigation by the VPD’s Main Crimes Unit. Pham was deemed to have died of an overdose.
The search warrant particulars the lengths police went of their makes an attempt to find a suspect recognized solely by a telephone quantity, the title “Jimmy,” and the few issues the alleged sufferer may recall from the scene of the crime.
However taken along with a raft of immigration paperwork beforehand obtained by CBC that exposed Pham’s involvement within the overdose loss of life of one other girl — and the way he was launched with nearly no restrictions when it grew to become obvious that makes an attempt to deport him from Canada had been futile — the warrant raises as many questions because it solutions.
Most notably: How may a man deemed a “hazard to the general public” by immigration officers and ordered deported find yourself dwelling amongst a number of the nation’s most weak residents, promoting medication and allegedly preying on girls?
Account of assault
The search warrant says VPD Const. Dijana Mehic obtained the doc to look Pham’s condominium on Feb. 5, 2021, three months after a Burnaby RCMP officer informed her a girl alleging sexual assault was ready to be examined at Burnaby Normal Hospital.
Later that day, Nov. 19, 2020, the RCMP officer informed Mehic the sufferer left the hospital earlier than he may get any identification.
In accordance with the warrant, Mehic couldn’t discover any details about the lady on a nationwide police database, so she despatched an inner e mail to VPD officers working the Downtown Eastside “to advise if they’ve handled or take care of a feminine by this title.”
Two days later, she was contacted by a beat enforcement officer who knew the sufferer.
Mehic stated she went to the lady’s residence and “she suggested me that she did attend [the hospital] on Nov. 19, 2020, after having been sexually assaulted by a male good friend of hers who she is aware of solely as ‘Jimmy.’”
“She described herself as a leisure drug consumer, however suggested she just isn’t a intercourse commerce employee and has by no means participated within the intercourse commerce,” the warrant reads.
“When she bumped into ‘Jimmy,’ he supplied her free medication in change for hanging out with him. Not assuming something of ‘Jimmy,’ she agreed to hang around with ‘Jimmy’ for the day, enticed by the free drug provide.”
Mehic stated the sufferer claimed “Jimmy” supplied her crack and heroin after she accompanied him to his room. She stated he grew to become “pushy” when she stated she sometimes used solely heroin, so she took the crack as effectively.
“Instantly, she felt a excessive she had by no means skilled earlier than and this triggered her to be ‘out of it’ for a second, rendering her unconscious briefly,” the warrant says.
The next particulars of the alleged sexual assault are redacted.
“She moved to a small mattress subsequent to the sofa, in an effort to get away from ‘Jimmy,’ who she thought is perhaps blocking the doorway,” the court docket doc continues.
“She ran out of the suite with what clothes she may collect however realized solely as soon as exterior the principle foyer door that she left her purse and a few of her private belongings inside, believing she was nonetheless partially undressed.”
The search warrant stated on the time of the interview no DNA proof might be collected or accidents documented as a result of “an excessive amount of time had handed between the offence date and the date the police carried out the sufferer interview.”
Telephone monitoring pinpointed handle
Armed with solely a cellphone quantity offered by the sufferer, Mehic obtained a manufacturing order from Rogers that allowed a police analyst to match the telephone to Pham.
Police additionally used a database that makes use of GPS data to trace the motion of telephones — tying Pham’s gadget to the handle at 405 Heatley Ave. based mostly on the truth that it was there 49 per cent of the time, and principally between the hours of 1 a.m. and 10 a.m.
The day earlier than Mehic sought the warrant, one other detective with the intercourse crimes unit spoke with Pham’s landord.
“[He] suggested Jimmy Pham pays him hire via social providers,” the warrant reads. “He has noticed Jimmy Pham sometimes bringing ‘sketchy trying girls’ as much as his suite.”
The search warrant lists a number of the outcomes of a search of Pham’s title on the Police Information Info Search Setting database — referred to as PRIME.
It mentions a mugshot, however doesn’t go into element concerning the sequence of convictions for break and enter and drug trafficking that in the end noticed him ordered deported to Vietnam in 2016.
No publicly obtainable images of Pham have been recognized, although the search warrant identifies him as 46 years previous, 5 toes two inches tall and weighing 119 kilos, with balding hair.
The alleged sufferer stated Pham had a “prepubescent construct, skinny, brief stature, appeared youthful than he’s based mostly on his physique sort,” and that whereas he pretended to not converse a lot English, he may simply talk. In court docket recordings beforehand obtained by CBC, Pham spoke completely via a translator.
Stays had been missed by police
Mehic acknowledged that the aim of the search can be to corroborate the few particulars that the lady Pham allegedly sexually assaulted may recall about his room: the black leather-based sofa; the small mattress; a Nineties-style inexperienced blanket with a star or triangle print.
The search warrant doesn’t point out the truth that a girl died of an overdose in Pham’s previous room on the Lodge Canada on June 27, 2019. Pham, who reported the loss of life, was initially arrested and investigated for murder by the VPD.
On the identical day the warrant was granted, the court docket sealed the doc from public view in a “safe place” throughout the Vancouver provincial court docket registry as a result of it contained particulars of an alleged sexual assault.
It was saved there till the CBC utilized to make it public — after Pham, Noelle and the unnamed girl had been discovered lifeless.
Vancouver police discovered Pham’s physique in his condominium in February, however initially missed the stays of Noelle and the lady. They returned to Condominium 16 of the Heatley Block greater than two months later after neighbours complained a few foul scent.
A Vancouver police officer linked to the case is at the moment underneath investigation for alleged neglect of obligation underneath the Police Act in connection with the officer’s conduct whereas attending the condominium the place the our bodies had been discovered.
Noelle, a member of Key First Nation in Saskatchewan, fled a provincially run group dwelling in Port Coquitlam, B.C., in Could 2021 when she was 13. The RCMP, who’ve jurisdiction in that space, stated they actively looked for her.
There are few particulars of how Noelle met Pham after she fled her group dwelling, which was run by the Ministry of Kids and Household Improvement (MCFD).
Noelle’s uncle Cody Munch, who was within the means of making use of for custody for his niece when she went lacking, stated he’s obtained few solutions from the VPD or MCFD.
“It simply looks as if they’re not doing their job. You realize, go and do a fast scan of the condominium after which simply go away it,” he stated.
Munch stated he hopes the continuing investigation into Pham by VPD’s Main Crimes Unit will present he was a serial predator.
Jenny Kwan, MP for Vancouver East and the NDP critic for Housing, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, stated the assault investigation into Pham, triggered simply weeks after his launch from immigration custody, additional highlights that he ought to have remained detained.
“It was completely horrifying to learn that a person [was] acknowledged to be a hazard to the general public, and but despite that immigration made the willpower that there was no legit purpose to detain the individual,” Kwan stated.