SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Community members say they are running out of time to find a man’s family and give him a proper burial.
The owner of Dalton-Hoopes Mortuary and the Vietnamese Community tell us they’ve been looking for 63-year-old Be Van Pham’s family for more than two weeks.
Pham was known for greeting people with his smile. He loved hospitality so much, he spent more than a decade working at the DoubleTree Hotel downtown Salt Lake City.
“He didn’t show up for work for two days, so his work tried to locate him, and they couldn’t locate him,” says Tammy Nguyen Luu with the Vietnamese Community.
Pham was a loyal worker, so his no-show caught managers off guard, and they called in a welfare check.
Arriving officers found Pham dead in his apartment with his senior dog, Toby, standing guard.
“That just breaks my heart when I heard that,” says Luu.
There wasn’t much inside his apartment; just an old family photo and two pictures of his dog, but there is a clue.
“A little alter with Buddhas on it, and that’s pretty much it,” says Luu.
That alter gave the owner of Dalton-Hoopes Mortuary an idea to call area Buddhist temples, where he found Luu and the Vietnamese Community.
“They said that if no one will claim him, they would have to turn the body over to the state,” she tells us.
Officials say Pham died of natural causes.
Luu says the community offered to pay for funeral costs, but they need the family to sign off on a death certificate and other things first.
Luu adds, “I’m just hoping someone will come forward and say, ‘Hey, he is family!'”
As for Pham’s dog, Toby, he’s sticking with the DoubleTree family. A co-worker adopted him to show him the same love Pham showed them every day he was at work.
If you know who Be Van Pham’s family is, you’re asked to contact the Dalton-Hoopes Mortuary.