"What Jennifer Did": 8 things missing from Netflix's doc of a woman who schemed to kill her parents

From an elaborate double life to lying about assult, these details are left out of Netflix's true crime story

By Nardos Haile

Staff Writer

Published April 18, 2024 2:08PM (EDT)

What Jennifer Did (Courtesy of Netflix)
What Jennifer Did (Courtesy of Netflix)

In 2010, Jennifer Pan devised a plan to kill her parents. The 24-year-old Vietnamese Canadian woman who grew up in a Toronto-area suburb appeared to be a typical daughter of immigrants. However, Jennifer struggled with the pressures of balancing cultural expectations put on her by her parents, and this led to her extreme actions.

The Netflix documentary "What Jennifer Did" focuses on the young woman's journey to ultimately conspiring with her ex-boyfriend Daniel Wong to hire a hitman who murdered her mother Bich Ha Pan and severely injured her father, Huei Hann Pan. Everyone who was involved in the murder and conspiracy, namely Jennifer and Daniel, is currently serving life in prison. While the documentary film directed by Jenny Popplewell sits on the streaming service's Top 10 movies in the U.S., it has been under fire for using artificial intelligence to alter photos of Jennifer and omitting key details about Jennifer's life and her relationship with her parents.

However, a 2015 Toronto Life feature by Karen Ho gives a fuller picture of the story, including the Pan family's dynamics. Jennifer grew up being told to achieve, not just academically but with nonstop piano lessons, competitions and figure skating. When she did fail to meet her parents' expectations by dating Daniel, the disapproval took a toll on Jennifer. The Netflix documentary leaves large gaps that the article fills in to create a more comprehensive picture of the circumstances leading up to Jennifer's plan to murder her parents.

Here are the 8 key details "What Jennifer Did" leaves out:

How Jennifer spent her free time while pretending to attend university

In the documentary, it's revealed that Jennifer failed to graduate high school and did not get into university . . . but had lied to her family that she was admitted to Ryerson.


Ho's article reveals that the lengths Jennifer would go to in order to perpetuate that lie. For four years, instead of going to class, she would go to libraries to research relevant science topics to take notes as proof she was going to school. She forged transcripts. At some points, she spent time at cafes and visited her boyfriend Daniel at his university. But she also picked up day shifts at a restaurant in her hometown, She also taught piano lessons and then bartended at a pizza parlor where her boyfriend worked as kitchen manager. When her dad asked about her studies, her mom would defend her and say, “Let her be herself."

Jennifer fooled her parents into allowing her to live with a friend

After pretending to attend Ryerson University for two years, her dad asked if she was still going to transfer to the University of Toronto. She lied again and said she had been accepted into the school's pharmacology program.


To keep up the charade, Jennifer suggested that she move in with a friend downtown for three nights a week. Her mom, Bich, convinced Hann it was a good idea because of Jennifer's daily commute. But Jennifer never stayed with her friend. For three days out of the week, she stayed with Daniel and his family at their home. Jennifer was also lying to Daniel's parents. She told them that her parents approved of her long stays, also rejecting their request for both families to meet.

Jennifer's parents followed her to her fake job

"What Jennifer Did" alludes to Jennifer feeling like she was being watched and followed by her parents but leaves out an incident involving the blood-testing lab SickKids, revealed in Ho's story. The web of lies Jennifer had constructed about her academic career slowly began to disintegrate when she said that she had volunteered at SickKids. Since the job required spending late nights at the lab on Fridays and weekends, Jennifer suggested spending more time at her friend's place.


But Hann noticed that Jennifer never wore a uniform going to work or even had a key card to get into the lab. Following those suspicions, her dad insisted that her parents drop her off at the hospital for work one day. When they dropped her off, Jennifer ran inside and then hid in the emergency room's waiting area for hours until they left. The next day, her parents called her friend who admitted that Jennifer was never stayed there. When Jennifer came home, she confessed that she didn't volunteer at the lab, she never even went to the Univerity of Toronto and had been staying at Daniel's the whole time. This focused her parents' disapproval on her relationship with Daniel.


Hann attempted to kick her out but Bich pleaded to let Jennifer stay. They confiscated her phone and laptop for two weeks, and she was only allowed to use them while her parents were around. She was also subject to surprise checks of her messages. She was prohibited from seeing Daniel and forced to quit all her jobs except the piano. Her parents also began tracking the miles on her car.


Jennifer still had not revealed that she failed to graduate high school and never went to Ryerson. 

Jennifer snuck out to see Daniel and was caught

The Pans' disapproval of Daniel was distinctly clear in the documentary because of his previous marijuana possession charges and lack of professional work. However, the article revealed their disapproval did not stop Jennifer from seeing him. 


In February 2009, Jennifer wrote on her Facebook, “Living in my house is like living under house arrest.” Once she regained enough of her parents' trust, she was able go out, which is when she'd see Daniel between her piano lessons.


One night she stuffed her bed full of blankets to make it look like she was asleep and snuck out to Daniel's house. The next day Bich went into her daughter's room to discover Jennifer wasn't home. This led to Hann and Bich to order Jennifer to come home, apply to college to become a pharmacy lab technician or nurse and cut off her contact with Daniel for good.

Jennifer concocted a story about being assaulted to win Daniel back

The documentary was clear that a part of Jennifer's motivations for the murder plot was to be able to have the freedom to see and date Daniel as she pleased. She felt like Daniel was all she had. But the article painted a darker picture of the lengths Jennifer would go to in order to get his attention.


At this point, Daniel was tired of dating someone who had to lie to her parents in order to see him, so he broke up with her and moved on to someone new named Christine. This left Jennifer heartbroken and desperate. She created an elaborate and gruesome fiction in the hopes that he'd feel moved to reconcile with her.


She told him that she opened the door for a man who showed her a police badge. She claimed that when she let him in, a group of men pushed in, overpowered her and gang-raped her in her home. Days later she also told Daniel that she had received a bullet in an envelope. She claimed that the assault and bullet missive were warnings from Daniel's new girlfriend Christine, threatening Jennifer to leave him alone.

Jennifer claims she was scammed in her first attempt to kill her dad

In "What Jennifer Did," it briefly mentioned that Jennifer had met with someone previously about a plot to kill her parents, but it never gave any details about the meetings she had with the person. In the article, Jennifer is painted as growing incredibly frustrated with her familial circumstances. So in 2010, Jennifer met up with a former friend from school, Andrew Montemayor, who commiserated with her over difficult fathers and imagining a life with them dead. This planted the seed for murder. He then introduced Jennifer to his roommate, Ricardo Duncan.


According to Jennifer, they devised a plan for Duncan to kill her father at his workplace's parking lot. She claimed she paid Duncan $1,500, but he ghosted her. In July 2010, she said she realized she had been scammed.


However, Duncan tells a different story, saying that when she asked him to kill her parents, he was offended and said no. Also, he stated that she only gave him $200, which he returned immediately. 

During the actual murder attempt in her home, Jennifer paid the hitmen


Eventually, Jennifer reconnected with Daniel to create another plan to murder her parents that involved at least two other men. Although the documentary details the events of Nov. 8, 2010 – when three men entered the Pan home, killed Bich and seriously injured Hann – Ho's Toronto Life story includes an extra detail.


Jennifer claims that one of the men, Eric Carty, had tied her hands behind her back and forced into her bedroom where she had to give him approximately $2,500 in cash. She went to her parents' bedroom where Carty found $1,100 in U.S. dollars in her mother’s nightstand.

The fallout of the trial on Jennifer's family, including her brother

At the end of the documentary, the audience is told that Jennifer and the men included in the murder plot are serving life sentences. Ho's story, however, goes into the emotional fallout of Jennifer's trial and how it has affected her family.


The story reported that the 2014 trial lasted about 10 months. When the jury read the first-degree murder conviction, she did not show any emotion. But when the press left the courtroom, Jennifer began to cry uncontrollably. She automatically received no chance of parole for 25 years.


The judge also ordered a no-communication order between Jennifer and her family at the request of her father and brother, Felix – the latter of whom was never mentioned in the documentary. Her lawyer said of the order that “Jennifer is open to communicating with her family if they wanted to."


Furthermore, Ho reported on Hann's victim impact statement, which read, “When I lost my wife, I lost my daughter at the same time. I don’t feel like I have a family anymore . . . Some say I should feel lucky to be alive but I feel like I am dead too.”


The story also stated that now Hann is unable to work because of his injuries, suffers from anxiety attacks, insomnia, nightmares and chronic pain. His son Felix moved to the East Coast to escape the controversy surrounding their family. He said Felix suffers from depression. Hann also addressed Jennifer: “I hope my daughter Jennifer thinks about what has happened to her family and can become a good honest person someday.”


The documentary updated that last year, Jennifer, Daniel, and two other men involved with the crime –  Lenford Crawford and David Mylvaganam – had all their convictions overturned. They are currently awaiting retrials. In an interview with CBC News in 2023, one of Jennifer's lawyers said, "Her fight is not over." 

"What Jennifer Did" is streaming on Netflix.


By Nardos Haile

Nardos Haile is a staff writer at Salon covering culture. She’s previously covered all things entertainment, music, fashion and celebrity culture at The Associated Press. She resides in Brooklyn, NY.

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