Reality TV murder suspect dead

5:29 AM, Aug 24, 2009   |    comments
Reality TV contestant and murder suspect Ryan Jenkins was found dead in Canada.
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Vancouver, British Columbia - A reality show contestant wanted for murder in the gruesome death and mutilation of his ex-wife was found dead Sunday of an apparent suicide after hanging himself in a secluded motel, authorities said.

According to our partners, The USA Today, Sgt. Duncan Pound of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police border integrity unit said police responded to a call from motel staff about a dead person in Hope, east of Vancouver, and then called investigators who were part of the massive manhunt for Ryan Jenkins.

"He was found by a hotel employee hanging in his hotel room," said Farrah Emami, spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney's Office in California, which was contact with Canadian police.

The 32-year-old real estate developer and investor was wanted in California on first-degree murder charges after the dismembered body of Jasmine Fiore was found in a trash bin in Buena Park, about 20 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

Fiore's teeth had been pulled out and her fingers cut off, apparently to impede her identification. Investigators used the serial numbers on her breast implants to identify her, prosecutors said.

Jenkins' body was found Sunday afternoon in The Thunderbird Motel on an isolated road on the outskirts of Hope, B.C. at the entrance to the western province's mountainous interior. Pound said police don't yet know how long Jenkins was at the motel before his body was discovered. Jenkins was identified through fingerprints and his family was notified before police went public with news.

"At this present time the investigation into the circumstances of his death is continuing, but preliminary evidence suggests that he took his own life. Any further details will not be released at this time as this investigation remains in its infancy," Pound said.

Late Sunday, the Thunderbird was surrounded by police with a coroner's van, said Marc Lojeski who works at the nearby Lucky Strike Motel.

Michelle Beck, who lives near the motel, said people who stay there are "kind of seedy - lots of drugs addicts and people down on their luck."

Hope is about 100 miles - or a two-hour drive from Point Roberts, Washington state, the last place Jenkins was reported to have been seen before he crossed into Canada.

Jenkins disappeared last week and his boat was found Wednesday at a marina not far from the U.S.-Canada border south of Vancouver.

After the U.S. Justice Department issued an extradition request, Canada issued a nationwide warrant for Jenkins' arrest. Canadian authorities initially launched a massive border search using helicopters, ground police and dogs.

Jenkins and Fiore met in Las Vegas in March and they married a few weeks later. The couple separated shortly afterward, but had reportedly recently reconciled.

A cellphone message left with Fiore's mother, Lisa Lepore of Maui, Hawaii, was not immediately returned.

California authorities said police in Buena Park where Fiore was found would continue their investigation to make sure no one else was involved in the killing, but did not expect to find anything.

"We continue to believe that Mr. Jenkins was solely responsible," said Emami, spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

The British Columbia Coroner's Service is investigating Jenkins' death and police are trying to determine how he got to Hope.

Friends said Fiore was a model who worked mainly in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, doing gigs such as being bodypainted at parties. She also was an aspiring actress and had a bit part in a small 2008 horror science-fiction movie, The Abandoned, according to the Internet Movie Database.

Jenkins was recently a contestant on VH1 reality show Megan Wants a Millionaire, in which wealthy young men tried to win over a materialistic blonde. The network canceled the show Friday.

Fiore's mother told The Associated Press earlier this week that her daughter had the marriage annulled in May. However, there were no court records of an annulment in either Nevada, where the couple was married, or in Los Angeles County, where they most recently lived.

The two were married in a Las Vegas casino after taping for Megan Wants a Millionaire finished in early March, Lepore said. Court records show the date of marriage as March 18.

But in May "they had a big blowout" and fought because he was jealous of her ex-boyfriends, Lepore said.

Jenkins then went to Mexico to do another reality TV show but struggled to get Fiore back when he returned.

"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."

Jenkins also was a participant in an as-yet-unaired competitive reality series, I Love Money 3. A VH1 spokesman said no decision has been made on whether or not to run the show.

A resume posted on the professional networking site LinkedIn.com says Jenkins had a license to fly commercial airplanes and dabbled in several development enterprises and investments since graduating from college in 1999. Those include Townscape Development Inc., a condo project undertaken in Calgary with his father, architect Daniel Jenkins.

Daniel Jenkins did not immediately return an e-mail seeking comment. Calls to Nada Jenkins, Ryan Jenkins' mother, were not returned.

Court records showed Jenkins was charged in June in Nevada with a misdemeanor count of "battery constituting domestic violence" for allegedly hitting Fiore in the arm and was set to be tried in December.

In his hometown of Calgary, Jenkins was sentenced to 15 months probation in January 2007 on an unspecified assault charge.

Prosecutors said Jenkins and Fiore checked into a San Diego hotel Aug. 13, and Jenkins checked out the next morning. Fiore was not seen alive again.

Ermami of the Orange County District Attorney's Office said it's unfortunate the hunt for Jenkins ended in death.

"Not only did the victim's family lose their loved one in a really brutal way - she was murdered and dismembered - but now the person who was charged with murdering her has avoided taking responsibility by apparently committing suicide," she said.

"So the family is going through a really terrible time right now and our hearts really go out to them."

 

USA Today

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