SEASON 33 of The Amazing Race introduced 11 new teams to viewers as they took on a global challenge, and some may recognize one contestant from the documentary exploring his wrongful murder conviction.

It's not the first shocking story tied to the show, as a beloved producer was previously found dead in an incident that left his assistant paralyzed.


Who is The Amazing Race contestant Ryan Ferguson?

In 2019, the documentary Dream/Killer explored the tragic case of Ryan Ferguson, who watched The Amazing Race while falsely imprisoned for almost ten years, accused of a murder he did not commit.

Ryan, 37, was only 19 when he was arrested.

He appears on the show with his best friend Dusty Harris, 38.

In 2001, Ferguson was attending a Halloween party with a classmate, Charles Erickson, in their hometown of Columbia, Missouri.

Afterward, the two boys went to a bar, in the same area as the offices of the Columbia Daily Tribune.

A sports editor at the paper, Kent Heitholt, was murdered in the parking lot sometime between 220 and 226am.

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While no link actually existed between Heitholt's death and Ferguson or Erickson's involvement, Erickson, who was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine, did not have any memory of the events of the night after waking up the next day.

He became paranoid about the case when, two years later, he read about the murder and began having recurring dreams about it.

Though Erickson told police that he had no memory of the crime, he and Ferguson were eventually both arrested and charged in March 2004.

No DNA samples collected at the crime scene matched Ferguson's or Erickson's.

Officials offered a plea deal to Erickson, who testified against Ferguson in 2005.

Following outcry from wrongful-conviction advocacy groups, attorney Kathleen Zellner began working pro bono to free him.

Erickson said prosecutor Kevin Crane pressured him into testifying against Ferguson.

A witness, janitor Sawna Ornt, testified that she told Crane she had not seen Ferguson at the crime, but Crane threatened her and Ornt was not asked to identify Ferguson in court.

Almost ten years after his arrest, Ferguson's conviction was vacated in 2013.

Erickson remains in prison and the case is still unsolved.

Ferguson told KRCG13 that Dusty Harris, his Amazing Race partner, was a tremendous help during the years following his wrongful conviction, and that their bond would serve them on the competition show.

"The Amazing Race really provided us an opportunity to reconnect in a way that would have never been possible otherwise," Ferguson said.

"The competitiveness of it, the stress of it, it really just showed who we are as people because we supported each other so much."

Harris remembered his best friend's shocking conviction as feeling like "the carpet ripped out from under you."

"We were literally inseparable best friends from 9th grade on until he was 19 years old and then the wrongful conviction happened," Harris recalled.

How did The Amazing Race producer Jeff Rice die?

Ten years prior to Ryan Ferguson's appearance on the show, a producer was found dead under shocking circumstances.

Jeff Rice, 39, was found slumped over a table, bleeding from his nose and mouth, at a hotel in Uganda in February 2012.

He was later pronounced dead.

His production assistant, Kathryne Fuller, was hospitalized and left partially paralyzed.

Rice founded a production company with his wife, and the Durban-based producer helped create challenges across Africa for The Amazing Race contestants.

Initial reports indicated a suspected poisoning, after Rice and Fuller were reportedly subject to a failed robbery attempt.

At the time, sources told Fox News that the duo were poisoned after local thugs could not intimidate them into giving up their possessions.

However, toxicology reports revealed that Rice and Fuller had apparently both taken tainted drugs.

Moses Kalanzi, 23, was arrested for supplying tainted cocaine to Rice.

Police said the drug had a "lethal additive," though it was not disclosed what the additive was.

Though the poisoning rumors were debunked, it's unclear if Kalanzi knew the cocaine he sold Rice was tainted.

Rice left behind a wife and two daughters.

How can I watch The Amazing Race?

The Amazing Race premiered at 8pm EST on January 5, 2022, after an 18-month hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fans can watch season 33 of the show every Wednesday at 8pm on CBS. They can also stream the show on Paramount+, Hulu, Prime Video, Google Play, Vudu, and iTunes.

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