A former "Survivor" producer is about to take on a test tougher than any on reality TV: the first court hearing in what is looking like a long fight over his extradition on suspicion of killing his wife.
Federal authorities arrested reality TV producer Bruce Beresford-Redman on Tuesday in Los Angeles, more than seven months after his wife Monica's body was found at a high-end resort in Cancun, Mexico. While Mexican authorities want him returned to stand trial on an aggravated homicide charge, Beresford-Redman indicated through his attorney that he plans to fight extradition.
Meanwhile, the family of Monica Beresford-Redman is gearing up for months of jumping through legal hoops.
"They know that this is not the end in their quest for justice for their sister Monica and are prepared to pursue this horrific tragedy to the end," the family's attorney, Alison Triessl, said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press.
Bruce Beresford-Redman's attorney said in a statement released Tuesday that he believed his client was innocent and should not be forced back to Mexico.
"Based upon our investigation, he is an innocent man being wrongfully accused by a foreign government," attorney Richard G. Hirsch said in a statement obtained by The AP. "We hope that after full consideration of both sides, a federal court will decide not to extradite him."
According to an 11-page complaint unsealed and released to reporters after Tuesday's arrest, Monica Beresford-Redman's death was preceded by fighting and tension between the couple. The complaint states that she discovered her husband was having an affair before the trip and wanted a divorce; the trip to Mexico was an attempt to reconcile.
According to the complaint, hotel workers and guests said they heard and saw the couple fighting. It also states that the sewer where Monica Beresford-Redman's body was finally found was visible from the couple's hotel room, where their young children were also staying. According to the complaint, a forensic expert found traces of blood on sheets left in the room, as well as a pillar and the balcony railing.
The complaint features a statement from an acquaintance of Bruce Beresford-Redman who received a call from the producer during the months that Monica Beresford-Redman was considered missing. The man, who hadn't spoken to the producer in a year, told authorities it sounded like Bruce Beresford-Redman "was reading from a script" when he described his wife's disappearance.
Even before the tragedy in Cancun, the family seemed on the rocks. Monica Beresford-Redman's sister, Jeane Burgos, said in a sworn statement that her sister had the locks on the couple's home changed before leaving for Mexico, and told their children's schools her husband should not be allowed to pick them up.
Bruce Beresford-Redman's parents were granted permanent guardianship of the couple's daughter Camila, 5, and son Alec, 3, last week, after a settlement with two of the children's aunts.
On April 8, Monica Beresford-Redman was found dead in a sewer at the post Cancun resort where she was staying with her husband and children. Mexican officials cited "asphyxiation by suffocation" as the cause of her death.