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CHULA VISTA, Calif. (AP) _ Miles Dabord, the brother of missing former NBA player Bison Dele, died Friday night, a hospital spokeswoman said.
``Dabord died this evening,″ Monica Montano, a spokeswoman for Scripps Memorial Hospital told The Associated Press.
Montano declined to give the cause or exact time of death, but said his family had been notified.
Dabord, in a coma since Sept. 14, was believed to be the only person who could have told investigators firsthand what happened when Dele disappeared in the South Pacific.
Dabord’s mother, Patricia Phillips, said Thursday she had planned to ask that life-support systems keeping her son alive be disconnected because doctors told her there was little hope he would recover. Hospital officials have refused to confirm if he was removed from life support.
On Thursday, Phillips, two of Dabord’s aunts, four cousins and a friend prayed at his bedside. One of the cousins, the Rev. Eugene Marzette, led the prayer service.
Phillips said the 35-year-old Dabord slipped into a coma after overdosing on insulin and failing to take his asthma medication.
With his death, investigators lost their key witness in the disappearances of Dele; his girlfriend, Serena Karlan; and his boat’s skipper, Bertrand Saldo. The three vanished nearly 11 weeks ago during a sailing trip between the mountainous islands of the South Pacific.
With the death of the lone witness, the French investigation will continue, but the part of the inquiry relating to Dabord will be dropped because someone who has died cannot be tried, French officials said.
At the Tahiti port of Taravao, officials began dismantling parts of Dele’s boat to prepare to probe it with a metal detector, looking for bullets. If anything suspicious is found they are prepared to cut parts of the boat open.
Investigators believe a gun might have been used in the killings. Dabord’s former girlfriend, who spent time with him in French Polynesia after his brother vanished, has told U.S. authorities that Dabord told her of a struggle on board.
Erica Weise was quoted in the Les Nouvelles de Tahiti this week as saying Dele’s girlfriend died when she tried to intervene during a fight between the brothers and fell and struck her head.
She said Dabord told her Dele then killed the skipper to keep him from reporting the death, adding that he shot Dele in self defense. Authorities in French Polynesia say they have not confirmed that account.