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Dele Investigation a Murder Case

September 17, 2002|Lance Pugmire

Acting on information from a California woman, prosecutors in Tahiti on Monday opened a murder investigation into the disappearance of former NBA player Bison Dele.

A French Polynesian police official, after an FBI forensics team began searching Dele's boat, said the decision to launch the murder investigation was a result of comments Erica Weise gave to Sonoma County Sheriff's Dept. and San Francisco FBI officials.

Weise is a former girlfriend of Dele's older brother, Miles Dabord, according to a family member of the brothers, and was listed as the primary emergency contact for the boat.

The police official said Weise told the FBI that Dabord informed her of a struggle aboard Dele's boat, the Hakuna Matata, that resulted in the deaths of Dele, his girlfriend, Serena Karlan, and the boat's captain, Bertrand Saldo. Dabord reportedly deflected blame from himself, saying Dele, formerly known as Brian Williams, started the fight, the police official said. Dele, Karlan and Saldo have not been seen since early July.

The FBI refused to comment on its investigation, acknowledging only that a forensics team boarded the boat, which was registered July 15 in Taravao, Tahiti, by a man fitting Dabord's description, according to the police official.

The boat, registered by a new name, was discovered Thursday. Dabord, 35, is the subject of an FBI manhunt in Mexico after he attempted to purchase $152,000 in gold Sept. 5 in Phoenix while identifying himself as Dele.

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