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Ryan Jenkins: From "Very Kind" TV Contestant to Jasmine Fiore's Killer?

(MySpace Photo)
Photo: Ryan Jenkins from his MySpace page.

NEW YORK (CBS) If police have it right, wealthy reality TV contestant Ryan Jenkins murdered his bikini model ex-wife Jasmine Fiore, removed her fingers and teeth to throw cops off his trail and then hung himself in a seedy Canadian motel room.

All of that may be true, but it doesn't answer a burning question. Why would an attractive, wealthy young man with a succession of beautiful girlfriends become a ruthless killer?

No one really knows, but as the investigations into Jenkins' alleged murder of Fiore and his subsequent suicide draw to a close, those who met him on VH1's reality show "Megan Wants a Millionaire" gave their impressions in an exclusive Early Show interview Tuesday.

In the show, Jenkins played the part of a wealthy real estate agent who was "well mannered" and "very smooth," according to Donald Farmer, a fellow contestant on the now-cancelled show, who spoke with CBS' Maggie Rodriguez.

Photos: Jasmine Fiore, Bikini Model Murder Photos

"Ryan was just full of energy, louder than life, would get the most attention in the room," said the show's casting director, Stuart Brazell, who selected Jenkins to be one of the lonely millionaires trying to woo a blonde bombshell.

Video: Casting director who screened Jenkins and a fellow reality TV contestant talk to CBS' The Early Show.

"He was someone that really fit perfectly for this type of show... He knew he was going to have fun and make for really good TV," she added.

Jenkins underwent a 500-question psychological exam that Farmer said all contestants took upon arriving at the house. Presumably Jenkins passed, since he appears in promotions for the show as a contestant.

But did VH1 producers know about Jenkins history of domestic violence? Did the broadcaster conduct a background check before selecting him as a contestant? At this point, we don't know.

Brazell, who was once on a reality show herself, said, "My assumption would be that there was a natural vetting process," though she was not involved in it.

According to experts, the type of person who is drawn to entering a reality TV show competition like "Megan Wants a Millionaire" exhibits specific characteristics which may put him or her at risk for a hard fall when fame subsides or he or she is faced with rejection, like Jenkins.

"The same vanity that targets a celebrity, and the same vanity that puts yourself on a reality show and seeks out a trophy wife is the same vanity that says 'you can't reject me, so I'm going to kill you,'" forensic psychiatrist Michael Welner told Rodriguez in another Early Show interview.

(AP Photo/TMZ)
Photo: Jasmine Fiore and then-husband Ryan Jenkins in Las Vegas.

Photos: Jasmine Fiore, Bikini Model Murder Photos

Jenkins' suicide wasn't surprising, Welner said, because he fit the profile of a vain person who is unable to handle rejection. "It's the same vanity that says I do not want to be caught alive as a murderer. I'd rather die."

"We value celebrity. We create people who are obsessed with getting a blonde who wants a millionaire. So we give a lot of attention and we create stars and people develop their whole identity of themselves around being seen and being known," he said.

And yet Farmer, Jenkins' housemate on "Megan Wants a Millionaire," described him as a "very friendly, outgoing guy" and a "complete gentleman" who was "always very kind" and "knew how to work comfortably with other people."

"There were people who were blatantly trying to steal the spotlight and do every trick they could do to do it, but I wouldn't put Ryan in that group," Farmer added.

Photos: Jasmine Fiore, Bikini Model Murder Photos

FULL COVERAGE ON CRIMESIDER
August 25, 2009 - Behind the Scenes: Jasmine Fiore's Accused Killer Ryan Jenkins
August 24, 2009 - Disturbing Trend: Jasmine Fiore Death Photos
August 24, 2009 - Jasmine Fiore: New Videos of Bikini Model Before Murder
August 24, 2009 - Wanted for Bikini Model Murder, Reality Star Ryan Jenkins Commits Suicide
August 21, 2009 - Murdered Model's Ex Boyfriend Calls Reality Star on Run an "Animal"
August 21, 2009 - Ryan Jenkins, Reality TV Star on the Run
August 21, 2009 - Police: Killer Removed Bikini Model's Teeth and Fingers
August 20, 2009 - Reality TV Contestant Wanted in Bikini Model's Death
August 19, 2009 - Murdered LA Swimsuit Model Found Stuffed in Suitcase

  • Sammy Saltzman

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