An ex-model found stuffed in a bloodstained suitcase without fingers or teeth was so badly mutilated that authorities had to use breast implants to identify her body, prosecutors said Friday.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Marshals Service offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Ryan Alexander Jenkins, a wealthy reality TV show contestant who was charged Thursday with murder in the gruesome slaying of Jasmine Fiore.
Detectives tracked the serial number on the implants because they could not use fingerprints or dental records, said Farrah Emami, a spokeswoman for the Orange County district attorney’s office.
Fiore’s body was found Aug. 15 in a trash bin in Buena Park, an Orange County city about 20 miles southeast of Los Angeles.
Authorities believe Jenkins, a contestant on VH1’s “Megan Wants a Millionaire,” may have fled more than 1,000 miles to reach his native Canada.
Buena Park police Lt. Steve Holliday said Jenkins, a native of Calgary, Alberta, is possibly armed with a handgun. Prosecutors recommended bail of $10 million upon his arrest and said he had significant resources to finance his flight.
Canadian authorities have ended a massive border search using helicopters, ground police and dogs but continued their investigation, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt. Duncan Pound said.
Tips in Canada were “on the low end,” he said.
However, a Thursday news conference in Southern California prompted phone tips to American authorities that were being pursued, said Tom Hession, chief inspector for the U.S. Marshals Service’s regional fugitive task force.
He declined to elaborate.
“It could be an area where he may not have access to that wealth, where he has assets that he has to sell or something like that and then he’s going to have to expose himself to potential arrest,” Hession said.
Hession declined to say if authorities were watching Jenkins’ assets as part of their investigation.
“When we’re looking for someone who’s a fugitive, we try to find out everything we can about that person,” he said. “We’re going to turn every rock over.”
While police engaged in a manhunt for Jenkins — and VH1 pulled future episodes of the show off the air — criminal profiler Pat Brown told TODAY’s Matt Lauer on Thursday that she sees suspicious behavior galore in Jenkins’ actions.
“If she’s leaving with luggage, why are you reporting her missing? Wouldn’t you just think she’s going someplace?
“The fact that Fiore’s body was found inside her own luggage is a strong indicator her slayer is someone known to her,” Brown added. “That’s a big red flag,” she said.
“If somebody is grabbing her off the street and he kills her, he’s usually going to dump her body very quickly; he’s not going to bother to put her in some luggage. Anybody who does that, there’s two reasons: One, they want to hide her very, very well, so that she’s not found quickly. And secondly, often it’s because they live in an apartment building and they have no other way to get the body out of the building. So that usually flags right away it’s somebody she knows.”
Fiore and Jenkins were briefly married in a quickie Las Vegas wedding in March and had been fighting in recent months. Prosecutors said the two checked into a San Diego hotel Aug. 13, and Jenkins checked out the next morning. Fiore was not seen alive again.
Fiore’s mother, Lisa Lepore, told The Associated Press her daughter had the marriage annulled in May. However, there were no court records of an annulment in either Clark County, Nev., where the couple was married, or in Los Angeles County, where they most recently lived.
Court records show Jenkins was charged in June in Clark County, Nev., with a misdemeanor count of “battery constituting domestic violence” for allegedly hitting Fiore in the arm and was set to be tried in December.
In his hometown of Calgary, Jenkins was sentenced to 15 months probation in January 2007 on an unspecified assault charge. The Canadian TV network CTV said Jenkins also was ordered to seek counseling for domestic violence and sex addiction.
Appearing live on TODAY Thursday, profiler Brown said that track record also has to be relevant to the police investigation.
“He has that domestic-violence past,” Brown said. “Apparently, he was in an anger management program to try to help him with that, but people just don’t change overnight. It’s a long process. It’s a very, very dangerous situation.”
Alain Hepner, Jenkins’ attorney in that matter, did not return a call seeking comment.
In Calgary, Paulina Chmielecka said she was engaged to Jenkins for 2½ years and never saw a violent side.