By DERRIK J. LANG
AP Entertainment Writer
LOS ANGELES — Bruce Beresford-Redman, the veteran reality TV producer at the center of an investigation into the death of his restaurateur wife, has been described as a nice guy who was frequently away from his family while working on such series as CBS’ long-running ‘Survivor‘ and ABC’s zany driving game show ‘Crash Course.’
Monica Beresford-Redman’s body was found Thursday in a sewer at the swanky Moon Palace resort where the family was staying in Cancun, Mexico, according to Bello Rodriguez, the outgoing attorney general for Quintana Roo state, where Cancun is located. Rodriguez said a security guard saw the couple arguing Monday night and said Bruce Beresford-Redman tried to hit his wife.
Francisco Alor, the incoming attorney general, said the 38-year-old co-creator of MTV’s ‘Pimp My Ride‘ was being detained as a “person of interest” and the initial focus of the investigation based on the couple’s alleged turbulent relationship. He added that several people in the hotel heard the couple arguing Monday night.
Back home, Ratana Necth, a nanny for a family in the affluent Palos Verdes, California, neighborhood where the couple and their two children lived, painted a picture of a husband and wife that always seemed “on the go.” Necth, who knew them from children’s birthday parties and playdates, said the couple “didn’t smile a lot” and they “weren’t lovey-dovey.”
“She was always nice,” said Necth, “but she always looked tired because she worked nights.”
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Friends who were gathered Thursday at the lively Brazilian-themed Zabumba bikini bar and restaurant that Monica owned and managed in West Los Angeles were still in disbelief that she was really gone. Mariza Alyrio, a friend of Monica’s for over 18 years, believed the trip to Mexico was to celebrate Monica’s birthday. The Brazilian-born woman would have been 42 on Thursday.
“I hope he didn’t do that,” said Alyrio. “I don’t want to believe it. He doesn’t seem like that kind of guy.”
Alyrio said that the couple were “very loving” and “very much into each other.” Friends assembled at the Zabumba bar and restaurant remembered Monica as a well-respected member of the Brazilian community and a busy businesswoman with a husband who was frequently out of town for work. They all said they hoped Monica’s death was an accident and not murder.
“For the sake of the children, I hope that he had nothing to do with that,” said family friend Jane Guimaraes.
Rob Cesternino, the third-place finisher on ‘Survivor’s’ sixth season in 2002, said he interacted with Beresford-Redman as a producer while shooting the series in the Amazon. Cesternino said Beresford-Redman “seemed like a nice guy,” but insisted he didn’t have any contact with him after production wrapped.
Beresford-Redman worked for reality TV mastermind Mark Burnett, who created ‘Survivor’ and is currently producing Sarah Palin’s eight-part series about her home state of Alaska.
Beresford-Redman is not the first person involved in a domestic murder case with ties to reality TV. Ryan Jenkins, a contestant on the VH1 dating show ‘Megan Wants a Millionaire,’ was found dead of an apparent suicide in a motel on the outskirts of his native Vancouver last year after being charged with murdering his ex-wife in Orange County, Calif.
Associated Press video journalist John Mone and writer E. Eduardo Castillo in Mexico City contributed to this report.
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