Friends of Murdered Model, Jasmine Fiore, Tell Her Story

jas fiore

It's a mystery that began in the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, and ended in a small Canadian motel.

The news spread quickly last weekend that reality TV star Ryan Jenkins, 32, had apparently hanged himself in a motel room in British Columbia.

Days later, the white Mercedes-Benz belonging to Jenkins' wife, model Jasmine Fiore, was discovered. The interior of the car was covered in blood, revealing signs of a gruesome struggle -- or a desperate attempt to hide a crime.

VIDEO: Forensics to Crack Murdered Models Case?
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Now, telling new details of what Hollywood screenwriters like to call the "back story" are emerging.

Watch the full story on "20/20" tonight at 10 p.m. ET

What set two promising young lives on a path toward violent and horrific deaths, hers allegedly at his hands?

They were two lives that, at first glance, appeared to make one golden couple. Their story began in March 2009, in Las Vegas. Jenkins, a Canadian real estate developer, and Fiore met at a casino. They were married days later. It seemed they'd both hit the romantic jackpot.

"Jasmine was ... energy when she walked in the door," said Ken Henderson, chief executive of the talent agency Fiore used.

Henderson said Fiore would make any husband happy. "Every picture that you see with her, with the big smile, that was her," Henderson said. "And you could just feel it, it was real, it wasn't a phony smile, it wasn't the picture-taking smile, it was who she was."

Early Years, Full of Promise

"She was exuberant," said Gwendolyn Beauregard, whose two sons were in school in California with Fiore and who was a mother figure to her. "She was radiant. She was gorgeous. Every man I ever know that ever saw Jasmine, because there was that inner beauty as well as the physical beauty, they fell in love with her at first sight. I mean, she might as well have been Marilyn Monroe reincarnated."

Fiore's mom, Lisa Lepore, remembered her daughter's happy childhood.

"She was just a great kid," Lepore said. "She's a lot of fun, she was smart -- she had an agenda. You know, this is a girl we called Gen. Jasmine when she was 3. The girl woke up, had a plan, had, like, all kind of stuff going on from a little start."

Fiore grew up in Bonny Doon, a small California community outside Santa Cruz. Sara Jansen met Fiore in the fifth grade.

"Oh, God, Jasmine was just exciting," Jansen told ABC News. "She brought a new lease on life to us up here. ... [She] was a beautiful girl, and she knew that could take her places. She wanted big things in her life, and was gonna go get them."

Beauregard described the model as focused and ambitious.

"She wanted to be famous," the friend said. "This girl can -- she could reach for the stars, and she could actually obtain them."

'Everything She Thought She Wanted'

When Fiore married successful bachelor Ryan Jenkins, she did nab a star, in a way. He'd made quite a splash on the VH1 reality series "Megan Wants a Millionaire."

On the show, he described himself as "a little bit of a Prince Charming, a little bit of a bad boy."

"I typically date girls who turn a lot of heads," Jenkins said on the show. "I love the chase."

Fiore was immediately excited about Jenkins, Beauregard recalled. "She said, 'I've met a wonderful man. I love him,'" Beauregard said. "She told me that he was handsome and charismatic, and sexy, and everything that she thought she wanted."

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