Death of Jasmine Fiore
|Murder of Jasmine Fiore|
|Location||Body was found in Buena Park, California|
|Date||August 15, 2009|
|Deaths||Jasmine Fiore, Ryan Jenkins|
The death of Jasmine Fiore occurred on August 15, 2009. Fiore (born Jasmine Lepore) was a model from Santa Cruz, California, United States. Her body was discovered on August 15, 2009, strangled and stuffed into a suitcase. Her remains had been mutilated to prevent recognition; she was eventually identified by the serial numbers of her breast implants. Fiore was 28 years old at the time of her death.
Her husband, a former reality TV contestant, Ryan Alexander Jenkins, was the only suspect and was formally charged with the murder. On August 23, 2009, Jenkins was found dead in a hotel room in Hope, British Columbia, Canada. He was 32 years old.
Fiore was a swimsuit model who frequently worked as a body-painted model at parties for entertainment. She appeared in shows at Las Vegas casinos. Fiore had acted in commercials for adult phone lines and bathing suits. Fiore had also obtained a real estate license and was planning to open a gym and personal training center.
|Wikinews has related news: Suspect in model Jasmine Fiore's murder found dead|
According to Fiore's friend of a year-and-a-half, Marta Montoya, Fiore had a longstanding but intermittently serious relationship with Robert Hasman, with whom Fiore wanted to settle down. According to People magazine, another suitor of Fiore's was Travis Heinrich, whom she met around 2005. Heinrich and Fiore had become engaged and remained so for less than half a year in 2006 or 2007; although the couple broke off this engagement, they continued to date.
Fiore had met Canadian-born real estate investor Ryan Jenkins at a Las Vegas casino shortly after Jenkins had completed filming Megan Wants a Millionaire. Two days later – March 18, 2009 – the pair then married at The Little White Wedding Chapel on the Las Vegas Strip. According to court records, Jenkins was charged in June 2009 in Clark County, Nevada, with "battery constituting domestic violence" for hitting Fiore on the arm. Travis Heinrich, who was present, said Jenkins and Fiore had been arguing over her friendship with Heinrich, which resulted in Jenkins hitting Fiore's arm and causing her to fall into a nearby swimming pool. Jenkins was to go on trial in December. The pair reconciled shortly before Fiore's death and were reportedly traveling to San Diego for a poker game.
Lisa Lepore, Fiore's mother, claims that the two fought frequently and that Jenkins had been jealous of Fiore's friendships with her ex-boyfriends. Dan Jenkins, Ryan Jenkins' father, said that Fiore was his son's only friend in California and that she would disappear for days at a time and lie about it to his son. In addition, Lepore told The Associated Press that her daughter had the marriage to Jenkins annulled in May 2009. However, there were no court records of an annulment in either Nevada, where the couple was married, or in Los Angeles County, where they'd most recently lived.
Investigators reported that Jenkins and Fiore checked into the L'Auberge hotel in Del Mar, San Diego, on the evening of August 13, 2009. They were to attend a poker tournament, a charity fund-raiser for the Carma Foundation at the Del Mar Hilton. Surveillance video captured Fiore and Jenkins leaving the Hilton at about 2:30 a.m. on the morning of August 14, 2009. The couple were later seen at the Ivy Hotel, a nightclub in downtown San Diego. At around 4:30 a.m., Jenkins returned to the L'Auberge hotel in Del Mar alone. Fiore was not seen alive again. Jenkins left the L'Auberge hotel at around 9 a.m. the following morning (Friday, August 14).
Fiore's body was discovered, but not identified, on Saturday, August 15, 2009 at about 7 a.m. Her badly beaten and crushed body was discovered inside a suitcase inside a dumpster in an alley in Buena Park, California. According to Buena Park police, Fiore's teeth and fingers had been removed before her nude body was stuffed into the suitcase. She had also been strangled. Authorities believe the mutilation was an attempt to impede identification. On August 18, her remains were identified using the serial numbers from her breast implants. The Orange County coroner's office reported Fiore had died a couple of hours before her body was found. Fiore's white Mercedes was found abandoned in a parking lot in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, about a mile from the penthouse Fiore shared with Jenkins in Fairfax District, Los Angeles. Police reported that there was a significant amount of blood, and some evidence of hair pulling.
Jenkins reported Fiore missing in the evening of August 15 at 8:55 p.m. Jenkins told police that he last saw Fiore about 8:30 p.m. August 14 at their home on Edinburgh Avenue, Los Angeles. Jenkins said they had gone to San Diego for a poker event and that, after returning, she dropped him off that evening and went to do errands, but never returned.
Jenkins' movements after Fiore's death
At around 9 a.m. on August 16, 2009, the day after reporting Fiore missing and after spending some time packing, Jenkins was seen leaving their penthouse for the last time. Police said Jenkins then left Los Angeles and went to Nevada to pick up his speedboat. On Monday, August 17, when contacted by police, Jenkins said he was in Utah, and was headed to Canada to resolve some immigration issues. On August 18, Fiore's body was identified and the murder was first reported in the media. On the afternoon of August 19, Jenkins called his father from Birch Bay, who informed him Fiore had been found murdered.
The Whatcom County Sheriff's Department received witness reports of Jenkins' black BMW SUV towing a boat towards the Canadian border. Police later found the BMW SUV and an empty boat trailer at a marina in Blaine, Washington; the engine was still warm. At the time Jenkins was only a person of interest in the investigation and had not been charged, though Canadian authorities had been alerted to watch for him. U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) did confirm they had boats patrolling northwest Washington waters looking for Jenkins as early as Wednesday, August 19. Initial media reports were that the US Coast Guard and Canadian authorities chased Jenkins' speedboat as it crossed to Point Roberts, but these reports were later denied by officials.
On August 19, a man matching Jenkins' description was seen piloting his boat into a marina in the border town of Point Roberts, where Jenkins' stepmother lives. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announced that they believe Jenkins crossed into Canada sometime between August 19 and August 20, 2009.
On August 20, Jenkins was charged with Fiore's murder and an arrest warrant was issued. Also on the morning of August 20, 2009, Jenkins called his detained father at the airport, but his father had to hang up the call.
At about 6 p.m. on the evening of August 20, Jenkins arrived in a silver PT Cruiser with a young blonde woman at the Thunderbird Motel in Hope, British Columbia, Canada The car had Alberta license plates. They pulled up beside a dumpster rather than pulling up beside the rooms, which the motel manager claimed to have found strange. Jenkins stayed in the car while a young woman paid cash for three nights' accommodation. The manager described the woman as attractive, about 25 to 30 years old, and very calm, making some "small talk" when registering. The guest in the room next door said the woman stayed for about 20 minutes with Jenkins in Room 2 and then left the motel. The woman was never seen again. The manager saw Jenkins walking outside the motel the next day, August 21, 2009. The manager said Jenkins looked exhausted and he was not recognizable from his picture on television.
At 11:30 a.m. on August 23, the couple failed to check out. Having noticed very little further activity over the weekend, the motel manager and his nephew decided to check on the room. Jenkins was found dead, apparently of suicide; his body was found hanging from the wall's clothes rack by a belt. No suicide note was found in the motel. A one-page suicide note saved on Jenkins' computer titled "Last Will and Testament" and dated August 20, 2009, was found by police.
Reaction by VH1
Following the announcement that Jenkins was connected with the murder of Fiore, VH1 put Megan Wants a Millionaire on indefinite hiatus out of respect for Fiore's family. It also deleted the show's page from the official VH1 website and dropped reruns of past shows from its schedule. It removed the show's archived episodes from the iTunes Store and cable video on demand services, leading to speculation that the show would never air again. It subsequently emerged that Jenkins had not only been charged with assaulting Fiore, but had been convicted two years earlier for assaulting a woman in Calgary. The latter incident had not been disclosed to either VH1 or Megan Wants a Millionaire producer 51 Minds. In a statement, 51 Minds said that it would have never allowed Jenkins on the show had it known about the 2007 incident.
51 Minds had hired Collective Intelligence, a private investigation firm, to perform background checks on Jenkins and the other contestants. However, since Collective Intelligence doesn't perform background checks outside the United States, it outsourced the vetting of Jenkins to a Canadian firm, Straightline International. In 2009, Collective Intelligence sued Straightline for breach of contract. The suit alleged that Straightline had falsely told Collective Intelligence that Jenkins' record was clean, and had also failed to check Jenkins against the RCMP criminal database. Collective Intelligence claimed to have lost valuable business from Viacom (owner of VH1), NBC and ABC as a result of the damage to its reputation. The suit is still pending as of 2013.
The day after Jenkins' death, VH1 officially announced the show was canceled, and also announced it would not run the third season of I Love Money, which was reportedly won by Jenkins. This cannot be determined, however, because a 51 Minds spokesman said Jenkins tried to pick up his honorarium check of $5,200 a few days before Jasmine's body was discovered.
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- Video of Fiore at a New York Mets baseball game on YouTube
- "Police: Violent Struggle Before Model's Murder" on YouTube (Associated Press video)
- Charges may be tough in Jenkins case: lawyer (CTV British Columbia)
- Adult chat line ad acted in by Fiore (TMZ)
- "Jasmine Fiore Through the Years" (ABC News photo gallery)
- Text of an e-mail that Jasmine Fiore received from Ryan Jenkins several weeks before her death
- Murder warrant filed against Ryan Jenkins