Husband of Slain Model Charged With Murder After 'Blow-Out Fight'

Husband hunted in Canada; source details couple's stormy final night on town.

August 19, 2009, 8:00 AM

Aug. 20, 2009— -- A reality show contestant has been charged with a felony count of murder in his ex-swimsuit model wife's death, authorities said, amid an international manhunt for him in the United States and Canada.

The charge against Ryan Alexander Jenkins, 32, came as police revealed grisly new details of Jasmine Fiore's death, and as a person who was with Fiore, 28, told ABC News about the couple's "blow-out fight in front of everyone" in San Diego last Thursday into Friday -- the final night she was seen alive.

"Jasmine was playing poker with a big group of friends at the Hilton Hotel," the source said. "She was being very rude and kept putting Ryan down. It was really awkward. She has a cutting sense of humor. He was getting really angry, and it totally set the tone for the rest of the evening."

The group later moved to the Ivy Hotel for drinks.

"She spent an enormous amount of time in the bathroom on the phone," the source said. "Ryan started asking who she was on the phone with, and she said her mom. It was 12:30 at night, and she was not on the phone with her mom.

"He kept screaming, 'Who were you talking to?'" the source added. "At about 1:30, they went up to their room to continue fighting."

Police said Fiore was strangled and placed in a suitcase that was found Saturday morning in Buena Park, Calif. They added Thursday that her teeth and fingers were removed from her naked body, possibly in an attempt to impede her identification.

Jenkins, a finalist on the pre-taped VH1 reality competition "Megan Wants a Millionaire," called police to report her missing the day the suitcase was found. He has not been seen by authorities since.

Authorities formally named Jenkins a suspect in Fiore's death and issued a warrant for his arrest today -- as the Orange County, Calif., district attorney's office said he had been charged with the felony count of murder.

Investigators believe Jenkins drove more than 1,000 miles from Southern California, quietly slipping into Canada days after he was named a person of interest in the death of Fiore.

Sheriff's officers in Whatcom County, Wash., found Jenkins' car with an empty boat trailer attached. A man matching Jenkins' description was spotted at the tip of Point Roberts, a peninsula in Washington state accessible from the United States by boat and overland from Canada, according to ABC News affiliate KOMO in Seattle.

Authorities believe Jenkins then walked across the border to the Canadian province of British Columbia.

Canadian Constable Sharlene Brooks told The Associated Press that ground, air and canine units were involved in the search for Jenkins.

Allegations of Past Abuse by Jenkins

Court records show that 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 a trial was set for December, according to KOMO.

In 2007, Jenkins was sentenced to 15 months of probation on an unspecified assault charge, according to the Alberta, Canada, Ministry of Justice. No further details were available.

Buena Park, Calif., local Frank DiStefano told affiliate KABC in Los Angeles that he found Fiore's body when he was digging through the trash looking for recyclables.

"It was partially opened, I lifted it up one time and saw skin, but I wasn't sure, so I lifted it up again," he said. "Then, when I saw the marks on the body and everything, I verified that it was a body. I immediately called 911."

Fiore, who recently had moved to Los Angeles, had worked as a Las Vegas bikini model and appeared in advertisements for radio personality Howard Stern. KABC reported that Fiore was working as a representative for Playboy's "Girls of Golf" when she disappeared.

TMZ reported Tuesday night that Jenkins' publicist said his client planned to speak with authorities.

"Ryan is currently speaking to his attorney and will fully cooperate with the police in this matter," he said, according to TMZ. "He is planning on meeting with them in the near future."

Reality Contestant Stood Out as Show Finalist

On "Megan Wants a Millionaire," in which Megan Hauserman narrows a field of men down to one who can win her heart -- and plump up her bank account -- Jenkins said, "I've never really rolled with any girls that can keep up with me."

On the show, he was said to have had a net worth of $2.5 million and said things like, "I'm so James Bond. I'm going to rock it."

According to KABC, Jenkins identified himself on the show's profile as being an investment banker who turns "player girls into princesses."

Hauserman told TMZ that Jenkins seemed like a nice guy -- "very charming, very educated and mature."

Yet, after the show had taped, Jenkins married Fiore in March. Fiore was wed under the name Jasmine Kinkade.

Hauserman told TMZ that the two were married two days after they met in Las Vegas.

ABC News' Michael S. James contributed to this report.

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