WHERE  IS  FIL-AM  CAGER?

MANILA, February 8, 2005 
(STAR) By Joaquin Henson  -  Behn de Ocampo Gerhart is an 18-year-old, 6-2, 150-pound Fil-Am whose dream is to find fame and fortune here as a basketball player.

Gerhart left the US last Dec. 17 and is somewhere in the Philippines. His mother Dee Greenfield, who lives in the US, doesnít know where he is and is worried sick about him.

Gerhart phoned his mother only once since he left home. That was last Dec. 21 and he said he was staying at the Cherry Blossom Hotel in Manila. He told his mother that according to a Filipino basketball agent, the documents he brought to prove his Filipino lineage were not sufficient to substantiate his claim for dual citizenship.

Two days after the phone call, Gerhart checked out of the hotel and hasnít since spoken with his mother.

Last Jan. 19, Gerhart sent an e-mail to a friend, Tommy, in the US and seemed unaware that his mother had notified the FBI and the US Embassy in Manila that he was missing.

Gerhartís mother has sent e-mails addressed to different Philippine basketball leagues asking about her son. Philippine Basketball League (PBL) commissioner Chino Trinidadís secretary Bel Marasigan is helping out the distraught mother by checking with other leagues if Gerhart has shown up for tryouts.

So far, Trinidad said there has been no trace of Gerhart.

"Wala pa rin," said Trinidad yesterday. "Kawawa nga yung mother kasi tumatawag palagi sa office. Hope he surfaces after reading his name in the papers."

Trinidad said he has called out to Gerhart in his radio program and PBL telecasts but the Fil-Am cager has not responded.

Gerhartís mother said a Filipino basketball agent named David supposedly brought her son to try out in some unspecified league. The agent booked Gerhart at the Cherry Blossom Hotel.

She said Gerhart brought several documents from the US to prove his Filipino heritage. The documents included original birth certificates of his parents, his Filipino grandfather Miguelís merchant seaman card, photos and letters.

"Behn was told because I had not visited the Philippines, he was ineligible to play," said the mother. "He told me he was going to try and get a flight home and he would call when he booked a flight. I provided him with an open-ended ticket so that he had six months in which to stay before he had to reserve a flight to come back home."

The mother said she has no idea where he could be.

"He could be safe, lost, abducted, deadĖanything could have happened to him," said the mother. "He gave me the agentís telephone number which I dialed and it was a non-working number or a number that is not recognizable. Behn has brown hair and eyes and is a slender young man, quiet. His hair, when he left, was cut almost like a buzz cut, very short. Iím hoping someone has seen him or heard his name somewhere."

When Gerhart contacted his friend Tommy, he did not mention where he was, whom he was with or where he was staying.

"He is completely unaware of the search going on for him," said the mother. "I notified the FBI agent I have been working with and he wonít close his file until Behn calls either his dad or myself. I need for him to see Sigrid Manalang of the US Embassy."


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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