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Dabord's Respirator Will Be Stopped

Crime: Authorities had hoped to question him regarding disappearance of his brother, Bison Dele, and two others.

September 25, 2002|LANCE PUGMIRE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Miles Dabord, whom authorities hoped to question in connection with the disappearance of his brother, former NBA player Bison Dele, and two others, will soon be removed from the apparatus that has been keeping him alive, his mother said Tuesday.

Patricia Phillips said a joint memorial service is being planned for her sons, Dabord and Dele, a former Clipper and Santa Monica St. Monica High basketball star who was last seen sailing his catamaran in the South Pacific with his girlfriend, the boat captain and Dabord in early July.

The date of the memorial has not been announced; nor would Phillips say when Dabord will be unhooked from a respirator. "I don't want a media circus around us on the day my son's life ends," she said.

Dabord, 35, was the subject of a three-state FBI manhunt until last week, when he was identified from fingerprints as the man who was brought to a Chula Vista, Calif., hospital in a coma on Sept. 15. Phillips said doctors told her the coma was the result of an insulin overdose and Dabord's not taking his asthma medication.

FBI investigators wanted to interview Dabord about the disappearances of Dele; Dele's girlfriend, Serena Karlan, and Bertrand Saldo, the captain of Dele's 55-foot catamaran, the Hakuna Matata.

Dabord aroused the suspicions of law enforcement officials in the United States by allegedly attempting to purchase $152,096 in gold using Dele's passport and writing a check on his brother's account Sept. 5 in Phoenix. He has also been identified by witnesses as the man who checked in his brother's catamaran--with its name painted over--using an alias in mid-July.

Erica Wiese, Dabord's former girlfriend, told investigators that Dabord told her during a telephone conversation earlier this month that Dele, Karlan and Saldo were killed as a result of a fight on board. Dabord told Wiese he was not at fault.

"We would have loved to have talked to [Dabord] about his versions of the events and compare them to the evidence on the boat," said FBI special agent John Steiner, adding, "Preliminarily, his story doesn't add up."

FBI investigators on Monday wrapped up their work in Taravao, Tahiti, where the catamaran is docked. Authorities regrouped on Tuesday in San Francisco to discuss their findings and try to establish a likely timeline of events.

Investigators are using satellite records to create a chronology of the boat's coordinates based on phone calls that were made from aboard, French Polynesian law enforcement officials said.

Forensic evidence will be processed at laboratories in France and the U.S.

"There's still a lot of work to do on this case," Steiner said. "We're not going to stop investigating because Miles departs. We've got a lot of leads and a lot of people to talk to, but the most important one was Miles. It's a huge loss for the investigation."

Phillips said she has hired an attorney to help her coordinate her status as executor of her sons' estates.

Times staff writer David Wharton contributed to this report.

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