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Home / Articles / News / Cover Story /  Sex, Death and Videotape: The death of Rebecca Bluff Page 1
Cover Story

Sex, Death and Videotape: The death of Rebecca Bluff Page 1

A man hopes to prove his ex-wife and best friend did not murder his daughter.

By Jesse Fruhwirth
Posted // February 16,2011 - In October 1998, Todd Bluff drove frantically from his border-town home in Ontario, Canada, to Salt Lake City, smoking nearly a carton of cigarettes along the way. “I was just told my daughter is dead and my wife and best friend were arrested. I was freaked out,” Bluff says. “I drove all night long. I remember because I chain smoked for 13 hours.”

Bluff’s anxiety focused mostly on his children. Rebecca was his first child, just two months short of her fourth birthday. Bluff, then 27, worried also about his 2-year-old daughter and who was caring for her while her mother was in jail.

As he drove, he didn’t know that police suspected Rebecca had been murdered. Arrested two days after were Rebecca’s mother, Ferosa Bluff, then 26; and family friends Andrew and Suzannah Fedorowicz, both 45 at the time.

Ferosa Bluff had left her husband about three weeks earlier after they decided to separate, and took their two daughters to stay with the Fedorowiczes as she plotted her future following the Bluff’s planned divorce.

“I was pissed off at Andrew on my way down to Utah,” Todd Bluff says. “It happened in his house. He’s the man of the house. He’s supposed to keep my kids safe. ... I was trying to place blame somewhere, [but] in my mind, this wasn’t a deliberate act. An accident must have happened,” Bluff says today from his home in Canada, where he still lives. This is the first time Todd Bluff is speaking publicly about the case.

Andrew_Fedorowicz.jpg .
Andrew Fedorowicz
photographed in prison in 2010
.
Ferosa_Bluff.jpg
Ferosa Bluff
photographed in prison in 2010

A very badly bruised Rebecca Bluff had died due to internal bleeding. Three days later, police and prosecutors told not only Todd Bluff but also the news media that they believe Rebecca had been tortured and murdered.

Two days later, prosecutors publicized a salacious twist: A search of the Fedorowiczes’ townhome at 1287 E. Vine Gate Drive found sadomasochistic sex toys such as leather straps, whips and restraints, as well as four video tapes depicting the Fedorowiczes and Ferosa Bluff using those toys in consensual, role-playing sex games. Salt Lake County prosecutors listed the sex toys in charging documents that are routinely obtained by the news media and alleged that sex toys caused bruises that led to the child’s death.

Todd Bluff—who, even as an ex-spouse of Ferosa, never believed the accusations—hoped the courts would discover the truth, but through a series of ineffective defense strategies and betrayals, he says, even the defense attorneys failed. In July 1999, Andrew Fedorowicz and Ferosa Bluff were convicted of murder, child abuse and sexual abuse of a child. In 2002, they lost appeals before the Utah Supreme Court. In 2010, they each maintained their own and each other’s innocence during their initial parole hearing. As he hoped every step of the way that the system would correct itself, Todd is now attempting to expose what he sees as tragic false convictions and perhaps attract some experts to their cause.

Over the past several years, Todd Bluff—who’s now remarried—and Suzannah Fedorowicz—whose charges were dropped in 1999 before trial in exchange for the two remaining defendants waiving their preliminary hearings (a hearing that is rarely beneficial to defendants anyhow)—have compiled hundreds of pages of research that they say proves not just that Andrew Fedorowicz and Ferosa Bluff are innocent, but that no one else is guilty of murdering Rebecca either.

Suzannah Fedorowicz declined to comment for this story except to say that she helped Todd with his ongoing investigation.

They claim Rebecca’s extensive bruising and internal bleeding can be explained by a previously undiagnosed blood disorder. Multiple prosecution witnesses said no tests were done to rule out this possibility. The research also accuses authorities of lies, smears and innuendo, like using a video tape of consensual adult bondage-sex games as evidence of child abuse and murder, or hinting to the jury, without evidence, that the defendants had a cult-like relationship, which prosecutors still hint about today but refuse to discuss in detail.

Todd Bluff has presented the research to the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole, the governor’s office, to news reporters—to anyone who will listen. To him, his files are the defense his friends should have received long ago.

GO WEST
Ferosa Bluff, now 39, was born in South Africa to a father of Middle Eastern descent but moved with her family to Canada when she was still a baby. “When I met her [at 16 or 17 years old], she was Muslim, but through the same friend who introduced us,” Todd Bluff says, “she was already introduced to the [LDS] Church.” The two met at a church dance. Ferosa converted to the church and married Todd Bluff soon after, just seven months after their first date. Both were still teenagers.

Todd Bluff had known the Fedorowiczes longer than he had known his own wife. Andrew had been the teacher of a youth group in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that Todd Bluff attended in the Toronto area when he was 15. “I was friends with a lot of adults in the ward, as is very typical,” Todd says.

After they married, Ferosa became a stay-at-home mom. Their relationship with Andrew and Suzannah Fedorowicz grew stronger over time.

The Fedorowiczes moved from the Toronto area to Ottawa and later San Francisco, but the couples still socialized and stayed in each others’ homes when they traveled. “At this point, Andrew was absolutely my best friend, and vice versa,” Todd Bluff says.

By their mid 20s, marriage satisfaction waned for the Bluffs, however. Neither Ferosa nor Todd offer any specific details as to why. “We got married very young. We had changed, I guess. It just wasn’t there,” Todd Bluff says. During an interview at the prison, Ferosa said “irreconcilable differences” prompted the split.

The split was amicable and planned-out. Ferosa was going to take a vacation of indefinite length at the Fedorowiczes’ home in Salt Lake City. Todd says they decided quickly that she should take the children—at least at first—because of his work schedule.

About three weeks after Ferosa Bluff arrived in Salt Lake City with the two children, after a 12-hour shift at the cheese factory where he worked, Todd Bluff had a message from the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Department asking for a call back. When he called, Todd says, the officer said, basically, “Your daughter is dead, Ferosa has been arrested, you need to get down here.”

“So, I hopped in the car and drove all night.”

MEDICAL REMIX
The defense made little effort to explain Rebecca’s physical condition at trial. Defense attorneys Gilbert Athay and Edward Brass called only two witnesses: Todd Bluff and a family friend, but no expert who could talk about blood diseases and whether a disease might explain Rebecca’s bruises and death. Their strategy, clearly outlined in their opening statements and recalled by Juror No. 2, Randall Thayne, was merely to argue that the prosecution didn’t have enough evidence to prove its case.

In theory, in a system where a defendant is innocent until proven guilty, that’s a great strategy, says Ferosa Bluff’s first defense attorney, Stephen McCaughey, but, “It was real hard to understand how she got that massive bruising. ... You’ve have to explain that somehow, and there was no explanation.”

Todd Bluff and Suzannah Fedorowicz’s re-examination aims to provide that explanation, but explaining how Rebecca got so many bruises has never been easy. At their trial, the medical evidence dominated. There were no witnesses who saw or heard anything that suggested Rebecca was abused. As Thayne put it, recalling the trial more than a decade later, “There wasn’t much for evidence. Just [Rebecca’s] body.”

Go to page two to continue the story or read the Re-examination Files

Continue reading: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Read All
 
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REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // April 15,2014 at 14:05 re: The Other Side of the Coin I know many of you who posted comments on this board. I knew Todd Bluff, his sister and his parents. I knew Andrew Fedorowicz, Suzanne Wood, as well as Brenda, but I can't really say the same for Ferosa other than she seemed nice. I CAN however tell you that many of you didn't know jack about the Fedorowicz's other than what he wanted you to know. For one thing, the young missionary you're referring to, that's me and NO, he did not finance me. What he did do is partially repay a $5000 loan I gave him just before I left with the understanding that he would repay me in monthly installments while I was out of the country. It was only in recent years that I was informed he had been telling everyone that HE was supporting me. DO NOT PROPAGATE THIS LIE. Other corrections I'd like to make: 1. Not only was there a history of violence, but also drug abuse, theft and forgery. 2. Drugs, both perscription AND street were still a part of his life. 3. Don't bring Brenda into this, you don't know the whole story, leave her alone. 4. I reported his abuses to the mormon leadership and was told that I should be a "good priesthood holder" and everything would be fine. THEY DID NOTHING, so as far as I'm concerned, they too are to blame. Yes, I'm talking to you Mazzei and you Meriam, I told you both. 5. I'd be willing to bet that none of you knows exactly how Andrew Fedorowicz and Suzanne Wood met because if you did, you'd be disgusted. I don't know for a fact whether he did or she didn't, I do know that I believe he could have.

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // September 13,2012 at 06:26

Sarah, my granddaughter please email me at;

cynthia. a@sympatico. ca

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // May 11,2012 at 15:41

need to contact Todd Bluff. been pushing the case on anyone willing to read it. i have found someone willing to explore. Todd contact me at sagefieldservices

 

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // April 4,2012 at 19:02

I was Andy's home teacher when he was with Brenda, My Children were baby sat by Todd's Mum and by Ferosa in Malton. I do not for a second believe that Andy and Ferosa committed the atrocities described in imaginitive detail by the prosecution. The saddest part is Rebecca watching from Heavenly Father's side, an injustice taking place with the incarceration of her Mum and Andy. 

I am glad that our mortal existence is so short compared to our spiritual existence and that the Real judgement will be so much more fair and Just.

Thank you Todd for supporting people you love

 

Posted // May 11,2012 at 15:43 - sagefieldservices@yahoo

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // May 10,2011 at 13:13

I just wanted to make an important comment. I loved my grand-daughter Rebecca, she is an angel in heaven, yes! What I want to say is I do not know the Fedoriwitz couple,but I do know my daughter Ferosa. She could never have commited such an evil, heinous crime, she was a beautiful, good, kind, lovely girl, teenager, adult. She was such a sensitive girl, loved children ( and her own) babysat kids, the parents were very happy when they returned home (she was only seventeen) from their vacation. She would cry when watching a sad movie about a child that was murdered, that was Ferosa, she was sad when a young girl died suddenly at her school of a brain anuerysym, she didn't even know this girl personally. That was Ferosa's personality. I know, I'm her Mom. So you people can say what you want, God in heaven knows the honest truth, and I will leave it at that.

 

Posted // August 22,2012 at 03:21 - hi cynthia umm i dont know how to say this but im your granddaughter rebecca is my sister and i live with my father todd

 

Posted // May 11,2012 at 15:45 - cynthia need to contact Todd Bluff. been pushing the case on anyone willing to read it. i have found someone willing to explore. Todd contact me at sagefieldservices@yahoo

 

Posted // May 24,2011 at 21:53 - In response to Cynthia: Those of us who know Ferosa but perhaps not as subjectively as her mother are still able to comment regarding Ferosa's personality. Ferosa is a quiet and gentle lady. I have always found her to be responsive exactly in the way you describe her. Ferosa is a very caring person, and it is my opinion that she could never commit a crime the way the State of Utah describes. It is for that reason that the evidence presented in the Re-Examination files of this article makes so much sense. When you read those files, that none of the testimonies at trial are represented by the actual findings, it makes sense to me that the actual evidence or actual findings show that there was no crime. That is consistent with the Ferosa that I know. I applaud your support of Ferosa, and I believe that your maternal love and compassion are just some of the traits passed on to Ferosa. When I knew her in Alberta, it was evident that she was a loving, caring and sensitive mother. Thank you for your comments, Cynthia