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Police probe whether suspected killer had help

Authorities investigate whether Ryan Jenkins was aided in disposing of model Jasmine Fiore's body and fleeing to Canada.

August 25, 2009|Kim Murphy and Andrew Blankstein and Ari B. Bloomekatz

HOPE, BRITISH COLUMBIA, AND LOS ANGELES — Detectives are investigating whether Ryan Jenkins got help disposing of model Jasmine Fiore's body after he allegedly killed her and whether others helped him flee and hide, police said.

Jenkins was found dead in a British Columbia motel room Sunday night. He apparently committed suicide and police are focusing on a woman who they said was with the former reality TV star when he checked in.

Canadian authorities on Monday refused to identify her and described her as a "person of interest" in the case who knew him previously.

"We're exploring those avenues and we're continuing to investigate," said Sgt. Duncan Pound, spokesman for the Federal Border Integrity Program of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. "We kept our mind open to the fact that he had roots in Canada, friends and family members in Canada."

The manager of the Thunderbird Motel said Jenkins "bore no resemblance" to the photos distributed as part of the international search aimed at capturing him.

"He did not look like the same man. He did not look like the man they were showing on TV," said Kevin Walker, who was working when the unidentified woman checked Jenkins into the remote Thunderbird Motel on Thursday evening -- a little more than two days before he was found dead of an apparent suicide.

"He'd lost lots of weight. He wasn't a buff, healthy looking man. It was kind of freaky," Walker said.

He said the woman left about 20 minutes after Jenkins checked in.

Law enforcement sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing, said they believe Jenkins received some help but would not elaborate. The sources also said they are investigating whether Jenkins got help in disposing of Fiore's body.

Jenkins, a real estate executive in Calgary who was recently a contestant on the reality TV shows "Megan Wants a Millionaire" and the third season of "I Love Money," is suspected of killing Fiore, his former wife, stuffing her in a suitcase and dumping her mutilated body in a Buena Park trash bin.

Both reality TV shows, which were set to air on VH1, have been canceled.

Police found Fiore Aug. 15 and identified her by a serial number on a breast implant because her fingers had been cut off and teeth were pulled out.

Jenkins, 32, and Fiore had married in March, then had the marriage annulled but were apparently still dating.

Walker, the manager of the motel on a side road about two miles outside the former logging town of Hope, said the couple arrived about 5:30 or 6 p.m. Thursday and stopped their car near the Dumpster when they first pulled in.

He said he assumed that they were cleaning out the car.

The woman, whom he described as being in her mid-20s with dark blond hair, came in and said they had been "traveling around," signed for the room and said it would be needed for about three days.

He said he saw Jenkins only once after he checked in, on Friday afternoon.

"He walked out and was just standing there. We made eye contact, I realized he must be the one in Unit 2," Walker said. "I thought maybe his girlfriend dumped him and left him there."

At checkout time about 11 a.m. Sunday, Walker knocked on the door to ask if Jenkins was planning to leave.

When he didn't get an answer, he went back to the office and called him. When there was still no answer, Walker let himself into the room with his passkey.

"I swung the door open and there he was right in front of me, hanging," Walker said.

"The room when I walked in there, it smelled like death," he said. "And to tell you the truth, what I thought when I first saw him was, he looked demonic. That's the only way I can describe it. I don't think I'll ever forget it."

Walker said a laptop was on the bed, and several of Jenkins possessions were strewn around it.

By Monday, police had stripped the room and removed the yellow police tape.

Jenkins' father, Dan Jenkins, said he was struggling to come to terms with the accusations against his son and believes he was corrupted by the Hollywood lifestyle.

"If my son was guilty, he was crazy. He was not the boy we knew. The boy we knew was not capable of anything remotely close to this act," said Dan Jenkins, an architect in Calgary.

Jenkins said his son appears to have fallen in with the wrong crowd in Hollywood and that he was seemingly incapable of the violence he is accused of committing.

He "would faint at the sight of blood," Dan Jenkins said.

--

kim.murphy@latimes.com

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

ari.bloomekatz@latimes.com

Times staff writer Richard Winton contributed to this report.

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