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'Megan Wants a Millionaire' suitor Ryan Jenkins charged with murder


By Christopher Rocchio, 08/21/2009 

Ryan Jenkins has gone from a "person of interest" to a murder suspect.

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The Megan Wants a Millionaire suitor was charged with murder Thursday in the death of his ex-wife Jasmine Fiore, a 28-year-old swimsuit model whose body was found Saturday stuffed in a suitcase in a Buena Park, CA trash can, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

Police allege Jenkins removed Fiore's teeth and fingers prior to disposing of her body, presumably to hinder efforts to identify her. A preliminary coroner's report shows Fiore was strangled.

The murder charge was filed in California Superior Court by the Orange County district attorney's office, which asked that bail be set at $10 million.  In addition, the warrant for Jenkins' arrest requires he submit DNA samples and thumb and palm prints upon arrest.

The 32-year-old Jenkins -- who is originally from Calgary, Alberta -- continues to be the focus of an extensive manhunt on the U.S. and Canadian border.  Earlier this week, Jenkins' car and an empty boat trailer belonging to him were found abandoned at a marina in Blaine, WA and a man matching Jenkins' description was seen arriving in Point Roberts, WA via boat on Wednesday.

While Blaine shares a border with Canada and is a major border crossing location, Point Roberts is a remote unincorporated community on a peninsula that only has land access from Canada.  They are separated by an approximately 10-mile boat ride across the Pacific Ocean waters of Boundary Bay.

"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 at a Thursday news conference about the murder charge, according to The AP. "There will be no stone unturned and we'll look under every rock for him."

Should Jenkins be apprehended in Canada, authorities could extradite him with the assurances that he would not face the death penalty, according to The AP, which added a spokeswoman for the Orange County district attorney's office stated the issue of the death penalty has yet to be addressed.

"Mr. Jenkins is considered dangerous, possibly armed, and has the financial means to hide anywhere in the world," Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said. "Anyone helping Mr. Jenkins hide from the police may go to prison themselves."

Jenkins and Fiore -- who were briefly married after a quickie Las Vegas wedding in March that allegedly ended with a May annulment -- checked into a San Diego hotel on August 13, according to authorities.  Jenkins checked out the next morning and Fiore was never seen alive again.

According to a Thursday afternoon TMZ report, Fiore sent Robert Hasman, a former boyfriend she was still friendly with, a Friday evening text message telling him she was going to travel to Las Vegas to see him.  Hasman then allegedly received a follow-up text message from Fiore's phone that simply read "suck it" -- which investigators reportedly believe may have actually been sent by Jenkins after he learned of the first message.

Hasman made a brief statement on behalf of Fiore's friends and family during the news conference.

"This message goes up to the family, his mother and father, and to the friends that are helping him try to leave this country," said Hasman.  "Ryan Jenkins is an animal.  What he has done to Jasmine is unspeakable.  It's just not right and I'd appreciate your help.  Please understand who you're helping leave this country and we ask for your support to to bring Ryan to custody."

According to court records, Jenkins -- the son of a wealthy Canadian architect and real estate developer who owns a 19-seat private jet, according to TMZ -- was convicted in 2007 in Calgary for assaulting a former girlfriend two years earlier. 

Then in June, Jenkins was charged with a misdemeanor count of "battery constituting domestic violence" for hitting Fiore in the arm and was scheduled to be tried in December.

Earlier this week, VH1 pulled Megan Wants a Millionaire from the air indefinitely.  Jenkins -- who was billed as being a "smooth operator" with a personal net worth of $2.5 million on the show -- was still one of 10 remaining suitors vying for Megan Hauserman's heart before the show was pulled.

A spokesman for Megan Wants a Millionaire's 51 Minds Entertainment production company claims they were "unaware" of Jenkins' Canadian criminal record when they cast him for the reality dating series, which filmed in March and premiered earlier this month.

"Obviously, if the company had been given a full picture of his background, he would never have been allowed on the show," spokesman Allan Mayer said in a media statement obtained by E! News.

"The company did have in place what it thought was a thorough vetting process that involved complete background checks by an outside company for all contestants on its shows. Clearly, the process did not work properly in this case. 51 Minds is investigating what went wrong and taking steps to ensure that this sort of lapse never occurs again."



(Photo credit VH1)


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