Hope proves dead end for murder suspect

Published on Fri, Aug 21, 2009
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The cross-border manhunt for former Point Roberts resident Ryan Jenkins ended Sunday with the discovery of his body in the Thunderbird Motel in Hope, B.C. Jenkins had been sought by police from California to Canada after his ex-wife’s defaced body was discovered Saturday, August 15 in a Los Angeles dumpster.

Jenkins was found after the motel manager checked the room in the afternoon. “I opened the door, saw a laptop on the bed and then saw him hanging from a belt looped over the coat rack,” Kevin Walker said. “He didn’t look anything like the dude shown on TV,” he added. The RCMP Federal Border Integrity Program spokesman at 6 p.m. Sunday described the death as an apparent suicide.

The room was rented Friday to an unnamed young woman, driving a PT Cruiser with Alberta license plates. The woman rented the room for three days and paid with cash. She was seen leaving approximately 20 minutes after renting the room and did not return to the motel. The woman was described as around 25 years old, blond and pretty. Police are reportedly attempting to locate her. The murder suspect has family ties in Alberta.

California prosecutors say the investigation into Jenkins’ ex-wife’s death is complete with the death of Jenkins. “We have no other suspects in the murder,” they announced. The victim, identified as 28-year-old Jasmine Fiore, “had been badly beaten, all of her fingers had been cut off, and all of her teeth had been forcibly removed,” said a statement from the California prosecutor.

Jenkins was to have been charged with one felony count of murder and faced a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison if convicted. A $10 million warrant had been issued for his arrest.

After reporting his ex-wife missing, Jenkins drove to Blaine in his black BMW X-5 SUV, towing his boat behind. Once in Blaine, he was believed to have launched the boat at the Blaine Harbor marina and crossed Boundary Bay to the Point Roberts marina where he abandoned it. Coincidentally, at about the same time that Jenkins was believed to have made the crossing, the bay was a beehive of activity as RCMP helicopters and search and rescue craft were busy responding to a 911 call reporting a father and son in distress while swimming close to the U.S./Canada border. The duo reportedly swam ashore, disavowing any difficulty or need for rescue. Later, a woman was arrested as she attempted to cross into the U.S. illegally to meet two friends who were in the process of being interrogated by a sheriff’s deputy at the corner of Roosevelt and Bayview.

Jacqui Everett, manager of the Point Roberts marina, said Jenkins arrived in an Alberta-registered 21-foot black and silver Calabria ski boat around 5 p.m. August 19 and moored the boat in an empty slip on D dock. “He had a conversation with a tenant,” Everett said, about boating and Jenkins offered to help the tenant carry things up the ramp.

Sheriff’s deputies, acting on a bulletin from the Buena Park, California, police department, began showing a picture of Jenkins around the marina at approximately 7 p.m. Everett said while several people could have recognized the boat, no one recognized the man. Deputies found the boat at around 1 a.m. and secured it until the U.S. Coast Guard seized it the following morning.

Jenkins is presumed to have crossed illegally into Canada, said Jeff Parks with the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office. “We did run down some locations he knew or had associations with,” he said. “We didn’t find him or any evidence of him, other than the boat.”

Jenkins’ father, architect Dan Jenkins and stepmother Karen Jenkins lived on Marine Drive near Monument Park when Jenkins was in his late teens and early twenties, according to several local residents who knew the family. Karen Jenkins, now Stanwood, still has a home in Point Roberts. She did not return calls for comments.

According to Orange County district attorney Tony Rackauckas, Jenkins and the 28-year-old Fiore lived together in Los Angeles after being married in Las Vegas in April 2009. The marriage was annulled a few weeks later following Jenkins’ arrest by Clark County, Nevada police on a domestic assault charge. Fiore was a swimsuit model while Jenkins is a businessman who was recently featured as a contestant on three episodes of the VH-1 reality program, “Megan Wants a Millionaire.” He was variously described as an architect, property developer and investment banker.

Jenkins checked into the L’Auberge Del Mar hotel in San Diego with Fiore on Thursday, August 13. Fiore was not seen alive again.

At 7:10 a.m. on Saturday, August 15, officers from the Buena Park police department responded to a call regarding a body in a dumpster in a residential area. Officers found a large blood-stained grey 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. The victim’s white Mercedes Benz CLS 550 has not been located.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office filed all of the necessary paperwork to issue an arrest warrant in Canada. “This domestic violence is a brutal crime where a wife suffered at the hands of the person who should have loved her more than anyone else in the world,” said district attorney Tony Rackauckas. “Mr. Jenkins is considered dangerous, possibly armed, and has the financial means to hide anywhere in the world. Anyone helping Mr. Jenkins hide from the police may go to prison themselves. Mr. Jenkins should do the right thing and turn himself in before he gets himself into further trouble,” he concluded.

The event sparked a media frenzy, with Seattle and Vancouver TV stations and CNN showing up to scour Blaine and Point Roberts for photos and information.