Foul play is suspected in the disappearance of retired NBA player Bison Dele, formally known as Brian Williams, 33, and his girlfriend Serena Karlan, 30, along with a crew of three, who have been missing since July 8. They were scheduled to sail on their boat, the 55-foot catamaran Hukuna Matata, from Moorea, Tahiti, bound for Honolulu, Hawaii, via the Tuamotu and Marquesas islands.
Before July 8, Serena Karlan had been contacting her mother at least once a week, and Brian had been contacting his bank and Kevin (KP) Porter, his executive assistant in Michigan, once a month. On August 27, the Coast Guard and Tahiti Search and Rescue opened search cases for their boat from Hawaii through New Zealand. On August 27, the Coast Guard and Tahiti Search and Rescue opened search cases for their boat from Hawaii through New Zealand.
Bison Dele played NBA basketball with the Denver Nuggets, L.A. Clippers, the 1997 NBA champion Chicago Bulls, and, most recently, with the Detroit Pistons from 1997-1999.
The parents of both Serena Karlan and Bison Dele are seeking any help they can get to locate Bison and Serena and the rest of the crew of the Hukuna Matata. A website with more information is available at www.whereisbison.com. Pictures of both Bison and Serena can be found at www.howhealthworks.com/bison/serena_bison_montage.pdf
On Friday, August 31, Kevin Porter discovered that a check for $152,000 had been drawn on Bisons account to purchase Golden Eagle coins from a Phoenix Arizona coin dealer, Certified Mint, for delivery to a Mail Boxes Etc. franchise in Miami. This set off an alarm because for 10 years Dele (Williams) has only paid bills with certified checks or his credit card and did not write any personal checks during that period. Porter contacted Bisons bank and was informed that the signature did not match the one on file. The check used had the Miami Mail Boxes Etc. address and was part of a check order placed only two weeks earlier. Bison has never had this Miami Mail Boxes Etc. address.
Porter called Certified Mint, which had cleared the check but had not yet shipped any coins. The owner, Bill Haynes, said that they had received two phone numbers from the person who ordered the coins using Brian Williams (Bisons) name: one was from Miami and the other from Key West. Porter vouches that the voice on the answering message in Key West has Bisons usual outgoing message but is in the voice of his Bisons brother, Kevin (Miles) Williams.
On Tuesday, September 3, the man calling himself Brian Williams called Certified Mint saying that, instead of receiving the coins in Miami, he had changed his mind and was instead coming to pick them up in Phoenix on Thursday. At this point, the Phoneix police became interested in the case. On Wednesday, September 4, Patricia Phillips (Bisons mother) and Porter flew to Phoenix, and the bank notified the Phoenix police department of the possible forgery.
On Thursday afternoon, September 5, Miles entered Certified Mint and indentified himself as Bison. He showed Bisons passport as proof. At that point, the Phoenix police arrested him. He was in possession of Bisons passport and two credit cards. He was taken to the Squaw Peak station and questioned. All attempts to gain further information failed and did not give them any other information useful in our search for Serena, Bison, or the other crewmembers.
Unfortunately, because the police did not have all of the necessary requirmenents of forgery and other crimes, he was released on Thursday evening. Porter met Miles as he exited the police station and further questioned him for five hours but was not able to get any more information before Miles boarded an airplane to Palo Alto. Miles not been seen since Friday 5:30 am Sept. 6, 2002.
Friday noon, we were informed that the FBI has become involved in their Phoenix, Troy, Michigan, and Honolulu offices. The Phoenix police are creating two reports regarding their discussions with Miles. These reports numbers are: 21-640848 Forgery Report, and 21-640848A Missing Persons Report, which are available to the public.
How you can help us A Personal Message from Scott Ohlgren:
To anyone reading this document:
My wife’s only child, and my stepdaughter, Serena Karlan, 30, has been missing for over 2 months, along with her boyfriend ex-NBA Chicago Bulls Bison Dele. Foul play is a strong possibility, complete with stolen passpords, etc., and the FBI has gotten involved.
The help I’m needing is very specific. But first consider this: If it is true that we are each only seven people away from reaching any person on earth, think about who you might know, or knowledge that you have, that may take us closer to these questions
1. We need to locate three members of the crew, or their families:
Captain Bertrand Saldo, France
Captain Benjamin E. Fitzgibbon, Australia
Mark Benson, crew member, Adelaide, Australia (found, 9/10/02, now helping with the investigation).
2. We need to locate the boat:
Catamaran Hukuna Matata (name from song in the Lion King), 55 feet (18 meters), painted blue, green, and white. I need each of you to put on your thinking caps and help us focus on solving the remaining mysteries.
We have spent every day since August 30 contacting our leads with the police, other law agencies, the maritime trades, sports connections, Senators, the U.S. State Department, the FBI, and the French and Australian authorities. It is now up to us and whomever receives this information. Think: Do you know someone that knows someone? Who do you know in politics that, given Bisons celebrity status, would run with this story and discover all of the details? Captains? Detectives? People in the media? Sports announcers? Radio talk shows? People in Tahiti? Australia? France? Investigative Reporters?
Please pass the http://www.whereisbison.com/ site on to anyone that would be interested in more details on this story. Help us find Serena and Bison, and the crew of the Hukuna Matata.