MEXICO CITY — "Pimp My Ride" and former "Survivor" producer Bruce Beresford-Redman was detained Thursday as a suspect in his wife's death days after reporting her missing in the resort city of Cancun, a Mexican official said.
The body of Monica Beresford-Redman was found Thursday in a sewer at the swanky Moon Palace resort where the family was on vacation, according to Bello Rodriguez, the outgoing attorney general for Quintana Roo state, where Cancun is located.
Rodriguez said a security guard at the hotel saw the couple arguing Monday night and said Beresford-Redman tried to hit her.
Beresford-Redman had scratches on his neck and officials were conducting toxicology tests to determine whether he had consumed drugs, Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez left office later Thursday and his successor, Francisco Alor, said he would describe Beresford-Redman as a person of interest rather than a suspect, adding that several people in the hotel heard an argument in the couple's room Monday night.
"He's the initial focus of the investigation based on their alleged turbulent relationship," Alor said by phone from the state capital of Chetumal.
The cause of death has not been determined.
Beresford-Redman told police Tuesday that his wife left the hotel to go shopping the previous day and never returned, said an official from the attorney general's office who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media about the case.
"They weren't lovey-dovey, at least when I saw them, and they didn't smile a lot," said Ratana Necth, 36, a nanny for a family in the Palos Verdes, California neighborhood where the Beresford-Redmans and their two children resided. Necth described the couple as nice and said they always seemed "on the go."
Friends gathered Thursday at the Zabumba bikini bar and restaurant that Monica owned and managed in West Los Angeles said they hoped her death was an accident and not murder.
"She's going to be very missed," said friend Mariza Alyrio. "I can't believe it's her. I hope he didn't do that. I don't want to believe it. He doesn't seem like that kind of guy."
Bruce Beresford-Redman was a producer for several episodes of the Emmy-nominated CBS reality show "Survivor," including "The Amazon" and "Marquesas" seasons, but was not currently working with the program, according to his profile on IMDb.com.
The Internet Movie Database also names him as the co-creator of "Pimp My Ride," a popular MTV car makeover show, and as an executive producer for "Crash Course," a driving game show produced by A. Smith & Co. Productions that aired on ABC last summer.
Beresford-Redman was nominated for three Emmys for his work on "Survivor," the long-running reality TV competition that strands tribes of strangers in remote locales to outwit, outplay and outlast each other for a $1 million prize.
Bruce Beresford-Redman worked for reality TV giant Mark Burnett, who produces "Survivor" and is currently producing Sarah Palin's eight-part series about her home state of Alaska.
Brazilian media reported that she was born in Rio de Janeiro and her parents still live in the South American country.
Associated Press video journalist John Mone contributed to this report.