The mystery surrounding the disappearance of Bison Dele, once a leading basketball star in the US, may never be solved. His brother – the only man who could have told investigators what happened when Mr Dele vanished in the South Pacific – has died.
Miles Dabord had been in a coma in a hospital in Chula Vista, California, since 14 September after being transferred there from Mexico, where he had been discovered. A hospital spokeswoman said he died on Friday night. Mr Dabord's death means investigators may never know what really happened to the former Chicago Bulls player Mr Dele, his girlfriend, Serena Karlan, and Bertrand Saldo, skipper of the boat on which all four were sailing near Tahiti nearly three months ago.
After Mr Dabord's companions disappeared, he spent two more weeks in French Polynesia, where witnesses said he acted much like any other tourist. He rented a scooter and took a boat tour to see sharks and manta rays before abandoning his brother's boat in Tahiti and flying home.
Mr Dabord, 35, a computer operator who changed his name from Kevin Williams, aroused suspicion when he signed his brother's name in an effort to buy $152,000 (£97,000) worth of gold in Phoenix, Arizona. He was released after brief questioning and went to Mexico, where he was later found in a coma.
There is one hope remaining for investigators. An official said Mr Dabord left documents with a lawyer to be opened in the event of his death, and the authorities believe they might be an account of what happened aboard the catamaran that day. He declined to give further details.