San Diego County Medical Examiner releases details about former North Korean prisoner's death

Man set on fire in Mission Bay Park had PTSD
Posted at 2:29 PM, Feb 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-12 17:29:27-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A San Diego County Medical Examiner’s report revealed new details Monday about the death of a former North Korean prisoner found engulfed in flames on Sea World Dr.

A California Highway Patrol officer was driving on Pacific Highway on November 17 and saw a person standing over a small bonfire. The officer then saw the person run into a field while on fire. 

The Medical Examiner determined Aijalon Gomes, 38, set himself on fire in an apparent suicide.

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San Diego Metro Arson Bomb Unit investigators searched the area and found traces of accelerant on Gomes’ clothing.

Gomes was from Boston and appeared to be homeless, officials said.

RELATED: CHP Officer finds man on fire in Mission Bay Park field

Police reached out to Gomes’ mother, who said her son had sent an email to 200 individuals and corporations advising that he had been raped, robbed, humiliated and manipulated. The email said the addressees could have what they wanted from him if he was euthanized and cremated.

While teaching in China in 2010, Gomes walked across a river into North Korea. He was sentenced to hard labor and attempted suicide in pri  son, his mother told investigators. Gomes was released after eight months through humanitarian efforts by the Carter Foundation.

RELATED: Former North Korean prisoner burned to death in field

Gomes’ mother told investigators her son suffered PTSD and left a mental health program against medical advice.