Friday, March 28, 2014

Murder LA 000045

In April 2010 Bruce and Monica Beresford-Redman went on a family vacation to Cancun with their 3 and 5-year-old children. The trip was for Monica's birthday, but was also something of a new beginning for the couple. She had left him for a time recently, after finding out he was cheating on her. Against advice from her two sisters, Monica, who owned a Brazilian restaurant on Venice Blvd, was attempting to reconcile. Bruce, a television producer most famous for his work on Survivor, offered to take the family anywhere his wife wanted for her birthday and that's how they ended up at the Moon Palace resort in Cancun. On her birthday she was found naked in a resort sewage pit.

Monica Beresford-Redman
via People
According to Bruce, he told his wife to go shopping or visit spas while he watched the kids. He reported her missing the next day. One of her sisters flew there immediately to look for her and confront Bruce. The sisters claim that she had never gone to a spa before, though it's unknown if she did anyway. Bruce claims not to know what she actually did, because she didn't take her cell phone with her. A shopkeeper later recognized her as having visited him but couldn't say what day.

Bruce stayed in Cancun for a couple of weeks while everyone, including his children, returned to the US. Although Mexican authorities took his passport, 48 Hours reports that he was not legally compelled to stay in Cancun. It may be suspicious that he subsequently crossed the border without his passport but the news show further states that he returned to LA in the middle of a court battle where his sisters-in-law were trying to gain custody of his children. If he knew about that custody battle then it doesn't seem very suspicious for him to leave.

He was arrested by US Marshals in November 2010 after Mexico issued an international warrant, and fought extradition for over a year. He was eventually shipped back to Cancun in February 2012.

via the Mexico Gulf Reporter
This past Tuesday, March 25th, 2014, Beresford-Redman's California lawyers filed for his extradition to be overturned, because it "was based on false and misleading evidence presented by the receiving country."

Mexico's case really isn't going well. Cancun authorities said Beresford-Redman got some scratches from struggling with his wife but never bothered to test under her fingernails for evidence--he claims to have gotten them while climbing something at the resort and says his daughter remembers helping him apply band-aids before his wife's disappearance. A forensic director ordered the destruction of evidence before the trial had started. The police claim there was blood on a pillowcase in the hotel room but have no idea where that pillowcase is.

The prosecutor's timeline is that Monica was killed at 6:30am, when witnesses said they heard yelling, in their hotel room, with their children present. He then kept her corpse in the room with them through the rest of that day before dumping her down a sewage pit that night.

The city's coroner disputes this timeline, however, placing time of death at 11:40pm. The prosecution also replaced their own "crime scene reconstruction specialist," who had been involved with the case from the beginning, in favor of someone else who was new to the case. The judge refused the new specialist's testimony.

The authorities don't seem to have taken any statements from the couples' daughter, who was five at the time. Beresford-Redman claims that she told a therapist that she remembers her mother saying goodbye before leaving that fateful day, which if true would provide testimony conflicting with the prosecution's theory - are authorities interested in getting her on the record?

48 Hours also reports that tourists have been murdered at Moon Palace before and that just three weeks after Monica Beresford-Redman's body was found, an employee attempted to rape a female visitor in her room, fleeing only because it turned out they weren't alone. When her family complained to the hotel they were told simply that the man was fired and apparently nothing else happened. It's unknown if Monica Beresford-Redman was raped.

The United States has not yet replied to the motion to rescind extradition. In the meantime the trial continues in Mexico.