Ben Bertolucci (ベン・ベルトリッチ,Ben Berutoritchi?) was an American freelance investigative journalist who worked in Raccoon City in 1998, trying to discover and reveal the origin of the bizarre murders that were happening in the Arklay County. Though he was not from city, he visited the region frequently and was familiar with local reporter, Alyssa Ashcroft.[note 1] He was arrested when the Chief of Police, Brian Irons, became the target of investigation, and died in the cells after attacked by a mutant amid the outbreak that destroyed the city.
Little is known about Ben's life except that he gained a reputation as an investigative reporter of the highest caliber, being capable to risk even his life to get a scoop. He was also known for his excessive curiosity, which matched his profession. However, despite being quite ambitious, intelligent and able to do anything for money, Ben has always sought to expose injustice through his work.
Arklay Incident Investigation
In the Summer of 1998, Bertolucci began investigating the bizarre murders that took place in the Arklay Mountains.[excerpt 1] Believing there was something at work preventing the police investigation, he stayed on the case for another month, staying over at the Apple Inn. In September, he began to suspect Brian Irons, the Raccoon City Police Department chief, was receiving bribes to botch the investigation from within. Bertolucci gained information from Umbrella employees, either confidentially or through spying, and became aware of a serious incident taking place in the city.
At one point, he confronted Dr. Annette Birkin about this information during a staged interview but failed to extract any more from her. Meanwhile, Irons became aware of Bertolucci's investigation of the RPD funding and ordered for his immediate arrest after he tried to tell city officials about the incident. He was found entering the South Raccoon Street Station and may have attempted to flee, given his briefcase and rail pass were discarded in different spots. Overall, his escape attempt also made him lose almost all of the content of his investigation. Unknown to Bertolucci, however, was that his arrest prompted Jill Valentine to investigate the reason behind this, making the case connect to her own investigation against Umbrella as well.
Raccoon City Incident
When the viral outbreak in Raccoon City became evident after that thousands of people turning into zombies, due to the speed with which the town succumbed to the epidemic, Ben began to be afraid that he would end up dying without revealing what he had discovered due to his unjust imprisonment. Ironically, it was his incarceration that kept him safe when Raccoon fell into chaos. The accounts contradicts each other on whether or not Bertolucci contacted someone while he was in prison when the police station started to be invaded by zombies, with an account stating that on Monday 28 September, during the evacuation of the place, he assisted survivors in exchange for paperwork proving Irons' guilt, which had been confiscated. In another account, Ben was incarcerated isolated at police station's jail room, which made him transcribe everything he knew about the outbreak, in the hope that someone could use his information to hold the culprits responsible for the tragedy in the city. It is also uncertain whether Bertolucci wanted to escape his imprisonment after the police station was overrun by the infected, as in one account says he refused to leave his cell, believing it to be safer there than to risk himself among the creatures that infested the city, while on another account, he was desperate to leave the station, since he knew that there were worse mutants than zombies walking through the station.
Similarly, accounts differ as to how Bertolucci died during the outbreak, but what is shared is that the Organization agent Ada Wong - aware of his investigation - entered the police station to retrieve important information for her mission, with surviving police officer Leon S. Kennedy joining. One account describes him being implanted with a G-embryo by Dr. William Birkin and being torn apart. A second describes him being mortally wounded by a slash from Dr. Birkin's talons. In a third, Ben is already found dead in his cell after being attacked by mutant Birkin. A fourth describes him being killed by T-00 crushing his skull. In all accounts, he died in front of Kennedy and Wong or left evidence on Irons' corruption and Umbrella's guilt as responsible for the outbreak in the city before he died.