A basketball star, a mysterious death and an FBI hunt for his 'dead' brother

Nothing about the disappearance of Bison Dele – a basketball star formerly of the Chicago Bulls and the Detroit Pistons – has been entirely orthodox.

He vanished without trace in the South Pacific with his girlfriend and the skipper of his private yacht.

What began as a disturbing loss of contact with his loved ones just over two months ago has mushroomed into an international manhunt stretching all the way from Tahiti to Arizona by way of Tijuana, on the Mexican border.

Suspect number one has been Dele's own brother, known variously as Miles Dabord or Kevin Williams, who vanished along with the others back in July but has since dropped clues about himself that look highly disturbing, to say the least. Earlier this month, Dabord showed up in Phoenix, Arizona, where he tried to buy $150,000 worth of gold coins using a cheque from his brother's account. Asked for an identity document, he produced his brother's passport. His brother, however, was nowhere to be seen.

Employees at the Phoenix establishment, Certified Mint, were suspicious enough to tip off the police, who took Dabord into custody on suspicion of fraud. Somehow, though, he talked his way out of the situation, and the next day he hopped on a plane to San Jose, California, not far from his home in the town of Palo Alto.

Last week, the mystery quickened as Dele's boat –– named Hakuna Matata after the phrase from the Disney film The Lion King – was found moored and abandoned at the distinctly unglamorous Tahitian port of Taravao. The yacht's name, meaning "no worries", had been painted over and replaced with a new name, Arabella.

In Tahiti, an FBI team discovered a number of witnesses who had seen Dabord, who is 6ft 8, leaving the 5-ft catamaran on 15 July and re-registering it under its new name.

Meanwhile, back on the West Coast, another FBI team tracked Dabord to Tijuana. They gave the Mexican police the name of a hotel and the Mexicans duly swooped. They found some of Dabord's possessions but there was no trace of him. They waited for him to return to his room, but he never showed. The hunt is still on.

In Tahiti, the FBI and the local French police are about to conduct a thorough search of the catamaran. Nobody is optimistic that the three missing are alive. The police are not all that hopeful, either, that they will find many clues about the way they met their end.

"My opinion is that the bodies are in the sea," one French officer told the Los Angeles Times. "The waters off our coast are very deep – planes have crashed and remain missing – so if the bodies have been [dumped] it will be impossible to find them."

Bison Dele was previously known as Brian Williams. He changed his name to honour his Native American ancestors. Why his brother also changed his name has not been made clear.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Consultant - London - £65,000 OTE.

£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable