Bruce Beresford-Redman's Family: Cries of Innocence After Lifetime's Damning Movie Portrayal

bruce beresford redman - H 2015
Photo/Damian Dovarganes

The family of Bruce Beresford-Redman, jailed in Mexico for the murder of his wife, Monica Burgos, reacts to new movies about the case as a high-profile crisis management firm gets involved.

A former Survivor producer convicted of his wife’s murder during a family vacation to Cancun, Mexico, is the subject of two new movies that aired over the weekend. “Murder in Mexico: The Bruce Beresford-Redman Story,” a made-for-TV drama, aired on the Lifetime Network on Saturday. A separate documentary, titled Beyond the Headlines, covering much of the same ground, also aired on Lifetime immediately following the drama.

Both films explore the death of Monica Burgos while she, her husband, Bruce Beresford-Redman, and their two children, Alec and Camilla (then aged 3 and 5, respectively), vacationed at the Moon Palace, an all-inclusive spa and resort on the outskirts of Cancun in the spring of 2010.

"The dramatization was sick-making. I had no idea how difficult it would be watching a dramatization of his life," said Juanita Beresford-Redman, Bruce's mother, "A lot of it was made up, it was very hard to watch."

Moon Palace employees discovered Burgos’ bludgeoned and disfigured body in a sewage cistern on the hotel grounds a day after she disappeared during the vacation in 2010. Burgos, a Brazilian restaurateur who lived in Palos Verdes, had spent the day by herself but failed to return in the evening when she had been expected. Her body was discovered the next day. It’s unclear whether she left the hotel grounds or, if she did, when she returned, or with whom. The Moon Palace has insisted that there is no video surveillance. 

The Lifetime documentary, said David Beresford-Redman, "was more upsetting because there were so many errors and omissions." He added that "The impression I was left with is that if and when [Bruce] is found not guilty it will be because the prosecution is so inept, not because he’s really innocent, which is horribly unfair." 

Meanwhile, the David House Agency, a renowned international consulting firm specializing in wrongful imprisonment cases, has loaned its support to Beresford-Redman’s case, offering pro bono media advice to the producer’s family.

“Not only do I believe Bruce has been wrongfully convicted, I believe one of the worst mistakes of all was committed by a Federal judge here in the United States who ordered his extradition to Mexico in the first place,” says Eric Volz, who heads up the David House Agency, and who traveled to Cancun, studied the case files and met with Beresford-Redman in prison, “Only a portion of this story has been told.” The FBI also interviewed several people in connection with the case, but those reports have not been made available to the family. 

The David House Agency has been involved in several high- profile wrongful imprisonment cases around the world involving Americans, including the Amanda Knox murder trial in Italy and the case of the three American hikers held hostage in Iran.

After initially cooperating with Mexican authorities, who had zeroed in on Beresford-Redman almost immediately, the former producer and co-creator of MTV’s reality show Pimp My Ride returned to the United States. Mexican authorities promptly filed an extradition request, which a U.S. magistrate granted in 2012. Beresford-Redman was flown back to Mexico where he languished in the Benito Juarez prison for four years while his case wound its way through the Mexican legal system.

From the beginning, the prosecution’s case showed cracks. Critical forensic evidence like blood samples indicated that Beresford-Redman was not the killer. Witnesses who claimed to have seen the couple fighting recanted their testimony. And numerous internationally recognized forensic experts testified that they believed Beresford-Redman was not the killer.

Mexican prosecutors forged ahead, alleging that Beresford-Redman had bludgeoned his wife and dumped her body in a nearby sewage cistern while their two children remained in the bedroom they all shared. In March 2015, a Mexican judge sentenced Beresford-Redman to 12 years in prison.

The producer’s American and Mexican attorneys all contend that Beresford-Redman’s conviction is a gross miscarriage of justice. Jaime Cancino, Beresford-Redman’s Mexican attorney, has vowed to appeal the case all the way to the Mexican Supreme Court and, if necessary, file a complaint with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, an international institution based in Costa Rica that promotes and defends human rights within the Organization of American States.

Alison Triessl, a Los Angeles-based attorney who represents Monica’s two surviving sisters, declined to comment for this story. A call to the Mexican Attorney General’s office was not returned.  

Bruce, meanwhile, remains in the same prison cell he has occupied for the last four years. He's taking medicine for a recent parasite infection, but his family says he has been finding solace in a woodworking shop close to his cell. A Mexican appellate judge will rule on his case in the coming weeks. 

Beresford-Redman’s family recently created a website dedicated to their son’s release: