A reality TV show contestant allegedly removed the fingers and teeth of the swimsuit model he killed before putting her in a suitcase and dumping her in a Buena Park trash bin, authorities said Thursday as they issued an arrest warrant for the suspect.
Police believe that Ryan Alexander Jenkins, who was a contestant on two VH1 reality shows, fled to Washington state and crossed the border into Canada on Wednesday or early Thursday. An international manhunt is underway for him.
The Orange County district attorney's office said 28-year-old Jasmine Fiore was last seen alive Aug. 13, when she and Jenkins went to an upscale Del Mar hotel together. Fiore and Jenkins had married earlier, then had the marriage annulled but were still dating.
Jenkins checked out of the hotel the next morning, apparently alone, according to prosecutors.
At some point, authorities say, Jenkins allegedly killed Fiore, placed her in the suitcase and left her in a trash bin off the 5 Freeway in Buena Park. On Saturday morning, a man looking for recyclables found the suitcase and called police.
"The officers found a large bloodstained gray suitcase containing the body of a Caucasian female. The victim had been badly beaten, all of her fingers had been cut off, and all of her teeth had been forcibly removed," prosecutors said in a statement released Thursday.
On Saturday night, Jenkins reported Fiore missing to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, prosecutors said, adding that he then fled Southern California. His whereabouts over the last few days were unknown, but on Wednesday he apparently surfaced in Washington state.
"The defendant's black BMW X5 was found with a boat trailer attached in a marina in Blaine, Wash.," the Orange County district attorney's office said. "The defendant is accused of using a speedboat to flee from the U.S. to Canada."
Duncan Pound, a spokesman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, said his agency has not yet confirmed that Jenkins was in Canada and that law enforcement agencies in British Columbia and elsewhere have been put on alert.
Jenkins was a contestant on the VH1 reality show "Megan Wants a Millionaire," in which wealthy men compete for the love of a young woman. He was billed on the show as an investment banker. He was also scheduled to appear on a second VH1 show, the third season of "I Love Money," according to a source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Jenkins was cast on both shows even though he pleaded guilty in 2006 to assaulting his then-girlfriend. A Canadian judge ordered him to complete "domestic violence" and "sex addiction" counseling, and he was also sentenced to 15 months' probation and 80 hours of community service, according to court documents.
A spokesman for VH1 said the network did not know about "any issues regarding any of the contestants on this show" and that it was standard practice in the industry for the outside company that produced the show to be "responsible for the screening/vetting process of contestants." VH1 licensed the show, which completed production in March, from the Los Angeles-based 51 Minds Entertainment.
According to a statement released by a spokesman for 51 Minds, the company was not aware of Jenkins' record when they cast him on "Megan Wants A Millionaire".
"Obviously, if the company had been given a full picture of his background, he would never have been allowed on the show," according to a statement provided by Allan Mayer of the public relations firm 42West.
Jenkins and Fiore married in March, soon after he completed "Megan Wants a Millionaire."
In April, Jenkins allegedly struck Fiore on the arm at a hotel in Las Vegas. In June, he was charged in connection with the incident with "battery constituting domestic violence."
At a news conference at Buena Park City Hall, a Fiore family spokesman urged people not to help Jenkins.
Jenkins "is an animal. What he has done to Jasmine is unspeakable," said Robert Hasman, who identified himself as her former boyfriend. "It's just not right."
Times staff writer Ari B. Bloomekatz contributed to this report.