BUENA PARK, Calif. – A reality TV contestant was charged with murder Thursday in the death of his ex-wife as the manhunt for the suspect spread to Canada and police provided gruesome new details about the killing.
Police said Ryan Alexander Jenkins removed the teeth and fingers of Jasmine Fiore, presumably to impede authorities in their efforts to identify the naked body after it was found stuffed in a suitcase in a California trash bin over the weekend.
A preliminary coroner’s report indicated Fiore was strangled.
The 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.
Jenkins vanished after the body was found Saturday. Buena Park police Lt. Steve Holliday said he’s possibly armed with a handgun.
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 100 percent sure of that,” said U.S. Marshal Chief Inspector Thomas Hession.
A car and empty boat trailer belonging to the 32-year-old Calgary, Alberta, native 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, Wash., 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.
Fiore’s ex-boyfriend, Robert Hasman, urged Jenkins’ friends and family to help police find him.
“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,” Hasman said at a news conference.
Jenkins was a contestant on the VH1 reality TV show “Megan Wants a Millionaire.”
After taping for the VH1 series finished in early March, Jenkins met 28-year-old Fiore in a 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.”