crimesider

Ryan Jenkins, Reality TV Star on the Run

(AP/Buena Park Police Dept.)
Photo: Ryan Alexander Jenkins

BUENA PARK, California (CBS/AP) An international manhunt is underway for the reality TV contestant charged with the horrific murder of his model ex-wife.

Photos: Jasmine Fiore, Bikini Model Murder Photos

Ryan Alexander Jenkins, 32, vanished after Jasmine 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, 28, was strangled.

Jenkins is believed to have ample resources to finance his flight from the law, according to prosecutors.

"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.

"At this time, although we believe he crossed the border, we're not one hundred percent sure of that," U.S. Marshal Chief Inspector Thomas Hession said. "There will be no stone unturned and we'll look under every rock for him."

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 (16 kilometers) 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.

Jenkins was a contestant on the VH1 series "Megan Wants a Millionaire," about a woman seeking to land a wealthy bachelor. He identified as an investment banker who had a couple million dollars.

After taping finished in early March, Jenkins met Fiore in Las Vegas and the two married weeks later 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.

The federal government was issuing a federal warrant, which would allow Canadian authorities to take Jenkins into custody there, Capt. Ken Coovert said. If Jenkins is arrested in Canada, California 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.

Farad Emami, a spokeswoman with the Orange County district attorney's office, said her office had not yet discussed whether to pursue the death penalty.

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 is scheduled to 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 domestic violence case, did not return an e-mail seeking comment sent after business hours Thursday. He declined to comment earlier in the week.

(Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
Photo: Jasmine Fiore

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

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.

Photos: Jasmine Fiore, Bikini Model Murder Photos

FULL COVERAGE ON CRIMESIDER

August 23, 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

  • Edecio Martinez

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