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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A judge on Tuesday ordered a former producer for the TV show "Survivor" extradited to Mexico to face charges that he killed his wife two years ago while they were on holiday in the resort town of Cancun.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Chooljian determined that Bruce Beresford-Redman, who has been jailed since November 2010 awaiting a decision, should be sent to Mexico for a trial because there was enough circumstantial evidence to show probable cause he could have murdered his wife.
The U.S. is required to send Beresford-Redman to Mexico within 60 days but he can appeal the judge's ruling, which would extend the process for an undetermined period of time, a spokeswoman for federal prosecutors said.
The badly beaten body of Monica Beresford-Redman was found in a sewer at a resort hotel where the couple and their children were vacationing in April 2010. Beresford-Redman had reported his wife was missing three days before she was found.
Mexican authorities believe the two had an argument, he beat her to death, then dumped her body.
Beresford-Redman has proclaimed his innocence, saying in a statement that he was "devastated at her loss" and "incensed at the suggestion" that he could have killed his wife.
At Tuesday's extradition hearing, defense attorneys Richard Hirsch and Vicki Podberesky claimed that statements from the couple's 6 year-old daughter suggested there was no animosity between them while on the Cancun vacation with their family.
But U.S. prosecutors, who have reviewed the case made by Mexican authorities, believe there is enough evidence to show Beresford-Redman killed his wife for three reasons: collecting insurance money, getting sole custody of their children and continuing an extramarital affair.
According to court papers filed in Los Angeles, Monica Beresford-Redman was hit on the head, her face and body were badly beaten and the cause of death was determined to be asphyxiation. Mexican police searched the couple's hotel room in Cancun and found blood spatter in several areas.
The couple's two young children are currently being raised by their grandparents.
Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Greg McCune and Cynthia Johnston