|Thursday, October 3
Updated: October 4, 7:46 PM ET
Reports: Fight ended with three thrown overboard
ESPN.com news services
Bison Dele's girlfriend, Serena Karlan, was knocked to the deck and killed instantly while breaking up a fight between Dele and his brother, Miles Dabord, as the three and a ship's captain sailed near Tahiti in early July.
That's the story Erica Wiese, Dabord's former girlfriend, told ESPN The Magazine's Tim Keown and the Los Angeles Times, based on her conversations with Dabord. The stories are in the Oct. 14 issue of ESPN The Magazine and Thursday's Los Angeles Times.
Dele then killed the captain, Bertrand Saldo, with a wrench, because Saldo wanted to report Karlan's death to authorities.
As the fight continued, Dabord killed Dele in self-defense, using Dele's own handgun.
And Dabord weighted the bodies and dumped them overboard from the Hakuna Matata, Dele's boat.
Wiese, 31, told both that she spent time with Dabord in early September, days before he went to Mexico, where he eventually overdosed from what his mother called a combination of insulin and not taking asthma medication. He died on Sept. 27.
She talked to a Sonoma County sheriff on Sept. 9 and told the FBI the story on Sept. 10. French Polynesian authorities have asked the U.S. Department of Justice for permission to interview Wiese later this month.
"I think he was in a fight with [Dele] that ended ugly," Weise told the Times. "Did he say to himself, 'I've got witnesses, now I have to take care of them?' Probably. Why the gold? I think he was going to do what he could to escape. ... Once he gave up on that, he overdosed."
Police in Phoenix arrested Dabord for trying to buy $152,000 in gold while using Dele's identification on Sept. 5.
The next day, Dabord met with Wiese in Northern California.
"At first, he said, 'I came to tell you I'm leaving, I'm in trouble,' " Wiese said. "Then he said, 'I need to help Bison out, he's in trouble. It's about a missing person; there's been an accident and I need to get Bison money -- gold, because it's the portable currency.' "
Dabord told Wiese that Karlan had died and that he was considering suicide because, having failed to buy the gold, it would look like he killed her, Wiese told the Times.
Two days later, she said, Wiese and Dabord were at a motel near the Mexico border, where he told her of the three deaths. She said she feared for her safety at that point.
"I just want to go home," Wiese told Dabord. "I know too much."
She returned to her home in Palo Alto, Calif. Dabord went into Mexico to get "medicine you can't get here."
Wiese never heard from him again, though she spent the next night with a knife next to her bed.
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about a scenario where Miles would be saying to himself, 'Holy ..., I've told someone about this, I have to take care of it,' " Wiese said in the Times. "That's why I slept with the knife. It was a worst-case scenario."
Wiese said she talked to the media to clarify her involvement with Dabord and let people know, "that I have told everything I know about this; I'm an open book."
Wiese told the Times she thinks Dabord was "acting in survival mode" in the last days of his life.
The FBI does not consider Wiese an accomplice to Dabord, but others, including Kevin Porter, Dele's personal assistant, thinks she might be a potentially key witness.
"From July 8, when Erica arrived in Tahiti to vacation with Miles, to Sept. 7, when she has said Miles told her exactly what happened, that's about 60 days," Porter told the Times. "You're trying to tell me Miles didn't say anything about this to her between then? This is what keeps me up at night."
"I didn't see anything," Wiese told ESPN The Magazine. "I didn't hear anything."
Wiese said she joined Dabord on the boat anchored off Moorea, Tahiti's neighboring island, on July 8. She spent one night on the boat. Dabord told her that Dele and Karlan were on another island, and that Saldo was with friends on Moorea.
"I didn't have a desire to meet Bison," Wiese told the Times. "From Miles' point of view, it sounded like Bison was treating Miles [poorly]. Miles even said to me once, 'If I ever keep going on and on and on to make a point, please stop me -- that's what Bison does.' "
Wiese left Moorea on July 15 after a rocky week with Dabord. She told the Times, however, that the trip ended with Dabord telling her, "We just need to start over."
Dabord returned to the Bay Area on July 20.
"This has emotionally screwed me up," Wiese told the Times. "I don't want to be out here trying to explain this. I've lost a person I cared about. I've been lied to. I've got a lot of baggage with this. And what makes me upset is to hear people say they think I'm holding things back. I wanted to stand by my man. I'll always love him. But I also have to consider the things I've been told.
"That's why I ask myself: Was I a sucker?"