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Police investigate whether Ryan Jenkins had help disposing of ex-wife's body [Updated]

August 24, 2009 |  7:45 am
Detectives are investigating whether Ryan Jenkins got help disposing of the body of his ex-wife, model Jasmine Fiore, and whether others aided and abetted him after she was slain, law enforcement sources told The Times today.

[Updated at 10:15 a.m.: The international manhunt for Jenkins, who is suspected of killing his former wife and dumping her mutilated body in a Buena Park trash bin, ended Sunday when he apparently committed suicide in a motel in Hope, British Columbia.  He did appear to have some help from a young woman who apparently checked Jenkins into the Thunderbird Motel and paid cash for three nights. 

According to the motel manager, when the couple failed to check out, an employee entered the room and discovered Jenkins hanging from the bar of a clothing rack.]

The law enforcement sources, who spoke to The Times on the condition that they not be named because the investigation is ongoing, said officials want to know whether Jenkins received help fleeing from Los Angeles and hiding in Canada. Jenkins was on the run for more than week, slipping into Canada Wednesday.

The sources also said they are looking into whether Jenkins had help disposing of Fiore's body, though they declined to elaborate further on this point. 

At a news conference at the Buena Park police station Sunday night, Lt. Steve Holliday was asked whether Jenkins got help when he allegedly killed Fiore. Holliday would say only: "I do believe he participated in the murder."

Sgt. Duncan Pound, spokesman for the Federal Border Integrity Program of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, said Monday that authorities there were continuing to investigate whether anyone aided Ryan Jenkins in the alleged crimes or in eluding police. “We’re exploring those avenues and we’re continuing to investigate,” Pound said. “We kept our mind open to the fact that he had roots in Canada, friends and family members in Canada.”
Jenkins had led authorities on a chase last week, first driving north in a black BMW SUV, surfacing in Washington state. Jenkins then eluded U.S. and Canadian law enforcement authorities Wednesday night as he raced toward the international border in a speedboat. That boat, called the Night Ride Her, was discovered in a marina across the border from Vancouver, where Jenkins, a Canadian national, was believed to have family.

Jenkins was a real estate executive in Calgary.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police were combing British Columbia for Jenkins, whose notoriety was fanned by the viciousness of the well-publicized crime. Authorities say Jenkins killed Fiore, 28, and removed her fingers and teeth, evidently to conceal her identity. Police allege that he then stuffed the swimsuit model's body in a suitcase and dumped it in a Buena Park trash bin. It was found by a man combing the trash for recyclables.

Authorities were able to identify Fiore, who sometimes used the last name Kinkade, based only on a serial number found on a breast implant, according to the Orange County district attorney's office.

Jenkins, 32, appeared to be leading a glittering life, calling himself an investment banker when he was a contestant on the VH1 reality television show "Megan Wants a Millionaire." But his life ended in a decidedly less-glamorous setting, in a drab motel that rented rooms by the month.

In April, Jenkins allegedly struck Fiore on the arm at a hotel in Las Vegas. In June, he was charged with "battery constituting domestic violence" in connection with the incident, according to court documents.

The case has raised questions about the vetting process of reality show contestants. According to Canadian authorities, Jenkins had a previous conviction for assault on an unidentified woman.

According to a statement released by a spokesman for Los Angeles-based 51 Minds Entertainment, which produced "Megan Wants A Millionaire," executives were unaware of Jenkins' record when they cast him.

Jenkins was scheduled to appear in another VH1 show, "I Love Money," set to air in January.

-- Andrew Blankstein