Beyond the Headlines – Murder in Mexico


Beyond the Headlines
Wednesdays at 8.30pm AEST from June 13 until July 25

 

Murder in Mexico

On 4 April 2010 staff and guests at the luxury Moon Palace Spa and Golf Resort, near Cancun, Mexico were startled to hear screams and loud bangs coming from one of the rooms,

and at 7 am the next morning one of the guests, Monica Burgos, was reported missing. She had been staying at the hotel with her husband Bruce Beresford-Redman and their two children, Camilla (5) and Alec (3)

This was the beginning of a scandal that involved a well-known television personality, his wife and the Mexican Police Force. It also involved murder, and the shock waves created continue to cause controversy right up to the present day.

Four days later, Monica’s naked and bruised body was found in a hotel septic tank, with clumps of hair pulled out, and a wound noticeable on her right temple.

It was now a murder investigation. Her husband, Bruce Beresford-Redman was scratched on his hands and across the back of his neck, leading him to be considered as a person of interest by the Mexican Police.

Because he was a suspect he was ordered to remain in Mexico, but he ignored this and crossed the border back into the United States by hitchhiking and using his license as identification at the border.

On 31 May 2010, Mexican authorities issued an arrest warrant for Bruce Beresford-Redman, charging him with murder, and began extradition proceedings to return him to Mexico. After a slow legal process these were granted and he retuned to a Mexican gaol in 2012.

 

The Legal Battle

Bruce Beresford-Redman is a well-known television personality having been involved in the reality shows “Pimp My Ride” and “Survivor”. His high public profile in the United States had the effect of generating massive publicity about the case.

He married Brazilian woman Monica Burgos in April 1999 and two children followed – Camilla and Alec who were 5 and 3 at the time of her death. The marriage turned out to be stormy with frequent arguments and he was reportedly engaged in an extra-marital affair at the time of the murder.

A Mexican Judge found that on the balance of evidence he had a case to answer and was ordered to remain in jail prior to his trial.

This verdict caused tremendous disagreement in the United States where it was suggested that there was insufficient evidence for a conviction. It was claimed that most of the evidence against Beresford-Redman was circumstantial and that the Mexican Police investigation had been slipshod. It was further alleged that evidence against him had been contaminated whilst in police custody and that DNA readings showed that blood found in the hotel room did not belong to Monica Burgos.

 

The Sentence

After a lengthy delay, the trial took place in 2015, when a Mexican Judge found Beresford-Redman guilty of murder, and sentenced him to 12 years in prison.

This led to a further round of appeals, both from Beresford-Redman himself, but also from the prosecution who maintained the sentence was unduly lenient.

 

 By: R. Whitaker