BUENA PARK, Calif. — Authorities on the hunt for a reality TV contestant charged with the grisly murder of his swimsuit model ex-wife were continuing to search the U.S.-Canadian border after the woman’s relatives pleaded with his friends and family not to help “an animal” evade capture.
Ryan Alexander Jenkins, a Calgary, Alberta, native, was a contestant on the VH1 series “Megan Wants a Millionaire,” about a woman seeking to land a wealthy bachelor.
Police said Thursday that Jenkins, 32, removed the teeth and fingers of 28-year-old Jasmine Fiore, presumably to impede authorities in their efforts to identify the naked body, which was found stuffed in a suitcase in a California trash bin over the weekend.
Fiore, a former swimsuit model, and Jenkins were briefly married after a quickie Las Vegas wedding this year, and had been fighting in recent months. Prosecutors said the two checked into a San Diego hotel last Thursday, and Jenkins checked out the next morning. Fiore was not seen alive again.
Sources told ABC news that Fiore had been playing poker with a group of friends at the Hilton Hotel and, “she was being very rude and kept putting Ryan down. It was really awkward.”
The source said Jenkins became angry, and the group moved to the nearby Ivy Hotel, where Fiore “spent an enormous amount of time in the bathroom on the phone.”
“He kept screaming, ‘Who were you talking to?'” the source told ABC News.
They went upstairs to their room, where the fighting continued, ABC News reported.
Friends and family members, including Fiore’s mother, sobbed at a news conference Thursday as a former boyfriend begged for help in capturing Jenkins.
“This message goes out to the family, his mother and father and to the friends that are helping him try to leave this country. Ryan Jenkins is an animal, what he has done to Jasmine is unspeakable and it’s just not right and I’d appreciate your help,” said Robert Hasman, Fiore’s former boyfriend.
Jenkins vanished after Fiore’s body was found Saturday stuffed in a blood-stained suitcase and Buena Park police Lt. Steve Holliday said he’s possibly armed with a handgun. A preliminary coroner’s report indicated Fiore was strangled.
Prosecutors recommended a bail of $10 million for Jenkins upon arrest and said he had significant resources to finance his flight. A $25,000 reward has been offered for information leading to his capture.
On the show, Jenkins was identified as an investment banker who had a couple million dollars.
A resume posted on the professional networking site LinkedIn.com says Jenkins has a license to fly commercial airplanes and worked in investment sales and as president of a boutique development company focused on cutting-edge green technologies.
“Anyone helping Mr. Jenkins hide from the police may go to prison themselves,” said Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.
Jenkins is believed to have driven 1,000 miles to Washington state and then hopped in a boat to a peninsula on the border, where he walked into Canadian territory. A Canadian police official said ground, air and canine units are involved in the search for Jenkins.
“We’ll look under every rock for him,” U.S. Marshal Chief Inspector Thomas Hession said.
A car and empty boat trailer belonging to Jenkins were found at a marina in the remote northwest Washington town of Blaine.
Whatcom County Sheriff’s deputies received a report Wednesday that a man matching Jenkins’ description arrived by boat at Point Roberts, Washington, about 10 miles from Blaine at the tip of a peninsula. The point is reachable by land only from Canada, and Jenkins is believed to have walked across the border from there.
Canadian Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan said police agencies across Canada are on the lookout for Jenkins.
In California, police detectives twice visited the luxury San Diego boutique hotel where the couple had stayed. Authorities spent three to four hours there Monday and returned Wednesday for about two hours, said Michael Slosser, vice president and managing director of L’Auberge Del Mar. Rooms at the hotel range from $350 to $3,000 a night.
Slosser doesn’t believe Fiore was killed at L’Auberge.
“It’s very unlikely that it happened here. I can’t talk about the specifics,” he said.
After taping for “Megan Wants a Millionaire” finished in early March, Jenkins met Fiore in Las Vegas casino and the two got married on March 18, said Fiore’s mother, Lisa Lepore.
But in May, “they had a big blowout,” and fought because he was jealous of her ex-boyfriends, Lepore said. “She had the marriage annulled.”
Jenkins then went to Mexico to do another reality TV show, but struggled to get Fiore back when he returned. It was not immediately clear which show he appeared on.
“He convinced her during that month that he was really the guy for her,” Lepore said. “He wrote poems and stories, and prayed, and (claimed he) had this huge spiritual awakening.”
The federal government was issuing a federal warrant that would allow Canadian authorities to take Jenkins into custody. California could then can request that he be extradited to the U.S. but only with reassurances from U.S. authorities that he would not face the death penalty.
Farrah Emami, a spokeswoman with the Orange County district attorney’s office, said the death penalty was not being pursued in the case.
Court records show that Jenkins was charged in June in Clark County, Nev., with a misdemeanor count of “battery constituting domestic violence” for allegedly hitting Fiore in the arm and will be tried in December.
Jenkins also has a criminal history in his hometown of Calgary. He was sentenced to 15 months of probation in January 2007 on an unspecified assault charge, according to the Alberta, Canada Ministry of Justice. No further details were available.
Neal Tomlinson, a partner at the law firm representing Jenkins in the Nevada case, did not return an e-mail seeking comment sent after business hours Thursday. He declined to comment earlier in the week.
Jenkins reported Fiore missing Saturday night to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, police said.
VH1 said it has postponed any future airings of the show. The statement also said that the show was an outside production licensed to VH1, but that it was produced and owned by 51 Minds Entertainment.
51 Minds said in a statement that Jenkins never would have been accepted for its show if the company had known of his past criminal history.
Age Now 32
Hair (Color, Description, Facial Hair) Brown
Eyes (Color and Correction) Brown
Buena Park, CA
Other Possible Locations
Vehicle To Look For
Jenkins’ vehicle, a white Mercedes 2007 CLS-550 with paper plates has not yet been recovered.
Missing Model Dead, Boyfriend Also Missing
Jasmine Fiore, 28, was last seen on the night of Friday, August 14, 2009 at her home in Los Angeles. According to police she had been at a card game with her boyfriend, Ryan Alexander Jenkins, in San Diego earlier that night.
A missing person’s report was filed Saturday evening by Jenkins, 32, who also disappeared shortly after making the report. “It’s suspicious that after he reported her missing, he is nowhere to be found,” Lt. Gary Worrall of the Buena Park Police Department said.
Oddly enough, Jasmine’s dead body had already been found early that morning in a dumpster in Buena Park — an Orange County city south of L.A. — but wasn’t identified until later. The body was found by a man who had been rifling through trash for recyclable bottles and cans.
Cops say Jasmine had been strangled and stuffed in a suitcase and her body had been mutilated.
Jenkins was named a person of interest in the case and it was announced that he was being sought for questioning. Police had tried unsuccessfully to contact Jenkins and feared he may have fled the country, Lt. Worrall said.
Reality Star Boyfriend Had Past Problems
Jasmine’s mother, Lisa Lepore, said Jenkins met her daughter at a club in Las Vegas. She said the couple got married a few days later but Jasmine had the marriage annulled this past May. Jenkins had since convinced Jasmine to take him back, Lepore said.
Court records show Jenkins — the former husband of a swimsuit model — has a history of violence against women: he was convicted of assaulting a girlfriend in 2007 in Calgary. Jenkins’ sentence included 15 months probation and mandatory counseling for “psychological/domestic violence/coping skills.”
Jenkins was a contestant and finalist on VH1’s reality show “Megan Wants A Millionaire,” in which he competed for the affections of a woman looking to become a “trophy wife.” On the show, Jenkins claimed to be a Calgary investment banker worth $2.5 million dollars. As a result of the ongoing investigation, VH1 says it is postponing any future airings of the show.
Missing Man Becomes Suspect In Girlfriend’s Death
Jenkins was announced as a suspect in Jasmine’s murder on August 20 by Buena Park Police.
Buena Park Detectives said in a news conference that Jasmine’s vehicle had been recovered in Blaine, Wash., near the Canadian border. There was a boat trailer attached to the black BMW SUV.
Jenkins’ abandoned boat was found further closer to the border in Port Robert, Wash., leading cops to believe Jenkins most likely crossed into Canada on foot.
A white Mercedes 2007 CLS-550 with paper plates is still outstanding.
If you have any information on the whereabouts of Ryan Alexander Jenkins, call our hotline at 1-800-CRIME-TV.
Information valid as of last update.
Murder, Buena Park, CA; Aug 15, 2009