San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Anne Patton

UPDATE: CNN seems to have bumped special on US man's mysterious death in Costa Rica

UPDATE, Tuesday, March 18, 8:15 p.m.: CNN seems to have bumped its special investigation of U.S. financier John Felix Bender and his wife Ann Bender, which was supposed to air tonight at 8 p.m. Costa Rica time. Instead, we’re watching a lot of speculation on what might – or might not (“Could the plane have landed on water?”) – have happened to the missing Malaysian flight. No word yet on if the piece has been rescheduled. We’ll keep you posted.

Original story resumes here: The story of U.S. financier John Felix Bender and his wife Ann Bender has received all sorts of press due to the intrigue and lunacy that surround their tale. The couple moved to Costa Rica and built a plush mansion and wildlife reserve in the jungle. But the wealthy pair started to lose their minds in the rain forest, and soon John Felix Bender was dead.

Did Bender kill himself? Or did his wife murder him as she saw their dreams collapse?  CNN is airing their own special report called “Love and Death in Paradise” on the case. The program debuts at 8 p.m. tonight, Costa Rican time, and 10 p.m. on the U.S. East Coast. However, according to sources, it will not run on CNN International, but only on CNN in the U.S.

Previously, Outside Magazine did a story of more than 8,000 words on the couple in an article titled “Love and Madness in the Jungle.”  The magazine sums up the story like this: “A spiral of handguns, angry locals, armed guards, uncut diamonds, abduction plots, and a bedroom blazing with 550 Tiffany lamps ends with a body and a compelling mystery.” Intriguing, no? 

The writer Ned Zeman captures both sentiments of love and madness:

Paranoia took hold. When John wasn’t searching for cures to what ailed Ann, he was fortifying the home and buying weapons. At one point, they again fled the country, this time to New Zealand for three and a half months. Again they were advised to cut their losses and move somewhere else. But no. “We chose Costa Rica,” Ann says. “We were in love.”

If you have time, give the article a read first.  Then, tune in for tonight’s special. Sources close to the filming say we can expect some surprising conclusions.

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