Swimsuit Model's Suspected Killer Husband Found Dead

Canadian authorities say reality TV star Ryan Jenkins hanged himself.

August 22, 2009, 3:01 PM

Aug. 23, 2009— -- Reality TV star Ryan Alexander Jenkins, the prime suspect in the grisly murder of his swimsuit model wife, Jasmine Fiore, was found dead today after he apparently hanged himself in a motel room, Canadian police said.

The manager of the Thunderbird Motel in Hope, British Columbia, who said he found the body, said Jenkins hung himself from a coat rack.

Local police answered a call regarding a dead body found at the Thunderbird Hotel in the town, which is east of Vancouver, and after seeing the person called in investigators involved in the manhunt for Jenkins.

"At this present time the investigation into the circumstances of his death is continuing, but preliminary evidence suggests that he took his own life," Sgt. Duncan Pound of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police border integrity unit said at a news conference this evening. "Any further details will not be released at this time as this investigation remains in its infancy."

Jenkins, 32, is Canadian citizen who police said fled to his home country after the former Playboy model's body was discovered stuffed in a suitcase in Buena Park, Calif., just south of Los Angeles on Aug. 15.

Fiore, 28, had her fingertips cut off and her teeth pulled out, apparently to make it difficult to identify her.

She was subsequently identified by the serial number on her breast implants, The Associated Press reported Friday.

Kevin Walker, the manager of the Thunderbird, told ABC News he found the body at 11:30 this morning, about 30 minutes after checkout. He opened the door, called out and saw a laptop computer in the room, and when he entered, Jenkins was hanging from the coat rack, the manager said.

Jenkins had been checked in Thursday about 6:30 p.m. by an attractive young woman who left after about 20 minutes, Walker said. He said he saw the man police now say was Jenkins only once and that he looked gaunt and did not appear to be the wanted man.

Canadian authorities had been looking for Jenkins since Friday, after U.S. police found evidence he had run north of the border.

Sheriff's officers in Whatcom County, Wash., found Jenkins' car with an empty boat trailer attached Wednesday night, and then Thursday morning found his boat at a marina 10 miles away.

Authorities said they believe Jenkins walked across the border into the Canadian province of British Columbia.

A source that was with the couple shortly before Fiore died told ABC News about the couple's "blow-out fight in front of everyone" in San Diego overnight Aug. 13-14 -- the last 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."

Did 'Blow-Out Fight' Lead to Model's Murder?

"At about 1:30, they went up to their room to continue fighting," the source also said.

Jenkins, a television contestant who appeared on VH1's "Megan Wants a Millionaire," called police to report that Fiore, but not until hours after his wife's body had been found.

Jenkins was arrested in June on domestic violence charges after allegedly hitting Fiore.

In 2007, he was also sentenced to 15 months' probation on an unspecified assault charge, according to the Alberta, Canada, Ministry of Justice.

Canadian police intensified their search for Jenkins today, after a nationwide provisional warrant was issued for his arrest Friday, after his car and boat trailer were found in northern Washington State, and his ski boat was found at a marina in Port Roberts, Wash., walking distance from the Canadian border.

"We're leaving no stone unturned, but we have to play our cards close to our chest right now," Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt. Duncan Pound said today.

The search was centered around Vancouver and British Columbia, Canadian Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan said.

Late last night, a traveler on a flight from Vancouver who looked like Jenkins was taken into custody at Toronto's Pearson International Airport.

Staff-Sgt. Keith Brodie of the airport division of Peel Regional Police confirmed that authorities had detained someone who matched Jenkins' description, but said that man was questioned and released, once it was confirmed he was not Jenkins.

"Obviously with a case like this where there's a great deal of media attention and publicity, there tends to be a higher number of possible sightings and people that are trying to be helpful," Sgt. Duncan Pound of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police told ABC News' "Nightline" Friday.

ABC News' Russell Goldman, Abby Tegnelia, Sarah Netter, Sabina Ghebremedhin, Michael S. James and The Associated Press contributed to this report.