The white Mercedes belonging to Jasmine Fiore was found containing swirls of blood “like finger-painting” where the bikini model and actress fought in vain for her life, police said.
After reality star TV Ryan Jenkins committed the grisly crime, cops believe he waited 24 hours before making a 1,000-mile dash for the Canadian border – long enough to move out of his penthouse and pick up his speedboat, police told The Associated Press.
Police pieced together a timeline that showed the 32-year-old wealthy son of a Calgary architect spent more than a day packing clothes and other belongings into his getaway car to fill a storage unit. The investigation also unearthed letters Jenkins wrote to Fiore that indicated possessivness and jealousy, though no direct threats against Fiore.
The model’s body was found Aug. 15 stuffed into a suitcase in a Buena Park, Calif. trash bin with a broken nose, missing teeth and the last digit of all her fingers, cops told the AP.
Police ultimately identified her by tracking the serial number on her breast implants.
Her car was found abandoned in West Hollywood on Wednesday after an international manhunt for Fiore’s suspected killer that ended with Jenkins' body found hanging from a coat rack in a secluded Canadian motel room.
Police were just steps behind, but too late to find him alive. They said extensive surveillance video from two hotels and the couple's Los Angeles penthouse, as well as cell phone records, interviews and other evidence helped them piece together the gruesome crime.
Get Los Angeles's latest local news on crime, entertainment, weather, schools, COVID, cost of living and more. Here's your go-to source for today's LA news.
"It all boils down to a domestic violence situation that went way out of hand as a result of jealousy," said Buena Park police Sgt. Frank Nunes.
Inside, Fiore’s recovered 2007 Mercedes, cops found signs of a violent struggle, with swirls of blood "like finger-painting" on the passenger seat, back seat and rear windshield that indicated Fiore fought for her life, said Buena Park police Sgt. Roger Powell.
Detectives found blood on the patio of the couple's luxury hotel room and found twigs and weeds in the undercarriage of Fiore's car, indicating it had been driven off-road.
In addition, they found a letter in the car's glove box that was written from Jenkins to Fiore, Powell said. He said the letter had been written some time ago, but was "more evidence to believe ... there was a whole lot of jealousy on his part," Powell said. More letters from Jenkins to Fiore — dozens, all unopened — were found in desk drawers in the couple's penthouse, he said.
The letters indicated "how much he wanted her to follow his wishes" and clearly showed how jealous and possessive he was, Powell added.
Jenkins moved to Los Angeles earlier this year to pursue an acting career. He found some success on "Megan Wants a Millionaire," a reality show where wealthy bachelors woo a materialistic blonde. He had completed filming for "I Love Money 3," but VH1 canceled the show before it aired because of the murder.
Jenkins met Fiore in Las Vegas shortly after he wrapped filming for "Millionaire" and the two were married in a quickie Vegas wedding on March 18, according to court documents. Friends said Fiore was a model who worked mainly in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, doing gigs such as being bodypainted at parties.
The two apparently had a stormy relationship: Fiore's mother, Lisa Lepore, told the AP last week that her daughter had the marriage annulled in May. There were no records of an annulment in Los Angeles, where the couple lived most recently, or in Las Vegas, where they wed.
Police said Thursday the couple were married when Fiore died and may have remarried after the annulment.
Despite the troubled relationship, however, the two appeared to be trying to make it work.
They checked into the luxury boutique hotel L'Auberge Del Mar around 6:30 p.m. Aug. 13 and had a porter help with a huge cart of luggage at the resort, where rooms range from $300 to $3,000 a night. Later that evening, the couple attended a poker tournament at the nearby San Diego Hilton and left around 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 14.
Surveillance video shows the couple at the valet booth at the hotel, the last time Fiore was seen alive. Two hours later, at 4:30 a.m., Jenkins was seen on surveillance video returning to the L'Auberge alone. He checked out around 9 a.m. without Fiore and without the suitcase in which her body was found.
Police said they believe Fiore was severely beaten in the car after the poker tournament and Jenkins brought her into their first-floor hotel room through a private patio entrance that fronted a parking lot. They believe that Jenkins then put Fiore in the suitcase and took it to Fiore's car through the same entrance.
No security camera was installed there, but other cameras captured Jenkins taking huge armloads of clothing out of his hotel room three times between the time he returned alone and the time he checked out. Police believe he was emptying out the suitcase for Fiore's body.
It isn't clear if Fiore died in the car or in the hotel room, police said.
After checking out, Jenkins drove nearly 100 miles to Corona, southeast of Los Angeles, police said. Although they have not found a crime scene there, they believe he drove off-road and may have removed the tips of Fiore's fingers and her teeth in the area. He then drove nearly 30 miles west to Buena Park, where he dumped her body, and returned to the couple's Los Angeles penthouse by 5 p.m.
Fiore's body was discovered early morning on Aug. 15, and Jenkins filed a missing person's report with the Los Angeles County sheriff's department at 8:55 p.m. that night, said Steve Whitemore, a sheriff's spokesman.
At the same time, surveillance video shows Jenkins gradually moving most of his belongings from the penthouse into his black BMW X5 — a process that took nearly 36 hours to complete as investigators scrambled to identify Fiore's body.
He was later seen leaving the penthouse for the final time around 9 a.m. Aug. 16 — more than 48 hours after police believe Fiore died.
"He didn't expect that body to be located that soon, that was pretty obvious. He had to definitely hasten the pace when he got to LA as to what he needed to do," said Powell.
Jenkins then picked up his speedboat in Nevada, police said. When Los Angeles police contacted him Monday, Aug. 17, he told them he was in Utah and headed to Canada to resolve some immigration issues. He made multiple cell phone calls while on the road and talked at least once to an attorney who said he would try to get him to turn himself in, said Nunes.
Nunes said it was unclear if that conversation happened. Authorities have said that Jenkins traveled to Canada and crossed on foot into British Columbia on Wednesday after taking his boat to a spit of land across from Blaine, Wash.
Powell said Thursday that investigators found a storage unit full of "thousands of dollars" of his belongings, including a suitcase full of clothes, at a storage unit in Washington state.
On Aug. 20, a day after he crossed into Canada, a young woman in a Chrysler PT Cruiser with tinted windows and a license plate from Alberta — Jenkins' home province — checked him into an isolated motel in Hope, British Columbia. She paid in cash for three nights while Jenkins waited in the car and she left after about 20 minutes, motel manager Kevin Walker told The Associated Press.
Police said Thursday they have not found any evidence to indicate that anyone in the United States helped Jenkins to flee. Canadian authorities declined to say if the young woman was Jenkins' half-sister, who lives in Vancouver.
Buena Park police said they did not have details of what Canadian authorities have found in their investigation. Canadian officials declined to comment on the details revealed Thursday until they could review them.