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Ex-'Survivor' producer barred from leaving Mexico

CANCUN, Mexico (AP) — The producer of "Pimp My Ride" and formerly of "Survivor" is barred from leaving Mexico while authorities investigate the death of his wife whose body was found in the sewer of a Cancun resort, a state official said Friday.

Bruce Beresford-Redman was released from custody early Friday because investigators don't have enough evidence to hold him, said Francisco Alor, the attorney general in Quintana Roo state, where Cancun is located. The 38-year-old producer was handed to U.S. Consulate officials and taken to an undisclosed hotel.

But Alor said Beresford-Redman remains a suspect.

"He can't leave the country," the state attorney general said. "We still can't say that he is responsible, but that's the starting point of the investigation because we have witnesses who say he was the last to see her alive."

The producer insisted to police that he last saw his wife, Monica Beresford-Redman, on Monday morning, when he says she left the exclusive Moon Palace resort to go shopping and never returned, Alor said. But witnesses said they saw the couple arguing on Monday evening, he said.

Police detained the producer Thursday after finding his wife's body in a sewer at the Moon Palace resort, where the family was on vacation.

Her body had scratches on the neck, signs of asphyxiation and evidence of a heavy blow to the right temple, Alor said. Investigators believe she was suffocated Monday night before being dumped in the sewer about 80 meters (yards) from her hotel room, he said.

Her husband had scratches on his face and arms, he said, and several guests heard an argument in the couple's room Monday night. Bruce Beresford-Redman told a hotel employee sent to check on them that they were arguing about their two children, Alor added.

The hotel's electronic lock system showed the couple's room was opened and closed at least 11 times that night, he said.

The producer's parents expressed confidence in their son's innocence and urged Mexican police "to identify those responsible for his horrendous crime."

"My wife and I are grief-stricken at the loss of our beloved daughter-in-law," said David Beresford-Redman said in a statement. "We know our son loved Monica and would never have harmed her."

David Beresford-Redman and his wife were granted temporary custody of their grandchildren, ages 5 and 3, in Los Angeles on Friday, said a source familiar with the case but not authorized to speak publicly.

Los Angeles Superior Court spokesman Allan Parachini said the children's grandparents were granted custody, but he did not have any more details.

"He has our full support as we try to do what's best for him and our grandchildren so they can be reunited soon," David Beresford-Redman's statement said.

Monica Beresford-Redman's sister, Carla, had also petitioned for custody of the youngsters, stating that her sister was "murdered" and her brother-in-law detained.

Monica Beresford-Redman — who owned and managed the Zabumba bikini bar and restaurant in Los Angeles — would have turned 42 on Thursday. Brazilian media reported that she was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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.

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Associated Press video journalist John Mone and entertainment writer Anthony McCartney in Los Angeles contributed to this report.