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The Thunderbird Motel where fugitive Ryan Jenkins was found dead is pictured in Hope, B.C., on Sunday August 23, 2009. RCMP say fugitive murder suspect Ryan Jenkins has been found dead of an apparent suicide in a motel in the town of Hope about 90 minutes east of Vancouver. (DARRYL DYCK)
The Thunderbird Motel where fugitive Ryan Jenkins was found dead is pictured in Hope, B.C., on Sunday August 23, 2009. RCMP say fugitive murder suspect Ryan Jenkins has been found dead of an apparent suicide in a motel in the town of Hope about 90 minutes east of Vancouver. (DARRYL DYCK)

Fugitive murder suspect found dead Add to ...

Ryan Jenkins, the reality-TV contestant accused of killing his model ex-wife and stuffing her into a suitcase, has been found dead of apparent suicide at a Hope, B.C., motel, the RCMP said Sunday night.

"At this present time, the investigation into the circumstances of his death is continuing, but preliminary evidence suggests that he took his own life," Sergeant Duncan Pound of the Mounties' border-integrity unit said in a statement.

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The question now is, who was the mysterious woman who checked him in?

Mr. Jenkins' body was found in a room at the Thunderbird Motel, said Farrah Emami, a spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney's Office in California. Mr. Jenkins had apparently hanged himself, Ms. Emami said.



Adam Curt, 19, a motel employee, discovered the body Sunday afternoon.

He said that Mr. Jenkins had checked into the motel on Friday with a woman, but that staff had noticed suspiciously little activity over the weekend.

When Mr. Curt and the motel's manager went to check up on the occupants, they found Mr. Jenkins' body hanging from the clothes rack in his closet.

"We opened up the door and there he was hanging by a belt," Mr. Curt said. He was wearing a blue shirt and blue jeans and looked as though he had been dead for about two days.

"It was pretty horrifying," Mr. Curt said, describing the smell in the room as putrid. "I felt quite heavy-hearted and disgusted in my stomach."

He said he had suspected the man might be Jenkins after seeing his photo on TV.

The manager of the motel, Kevin Walker, said Mr. Jenkins arrived in a Chrysler PT Cruiser with Alberta licence plates, and stayed in the car while a young woman checked them in. Mr. Walker says the woman paid cash for three days, and when the couple didn't check out, he unlocked the room.

"I cracked the door and there he was, hanging there in front of me, feet touching" the floor, Mr. Walker said. "He definitely wanted to die. I smelt death."





Mr. Walker said he didn't recognize the man although Mr. Jenkin's face had been all over the news. "In no way shape or form did he look like the man on TV," he said. "He looked spent."

Sgt. Pound would not confirm how long Mr. Jenkins had been at the motel or how long he had been deceased before his body was found, but said his identity was confirmed just before 5 p.m.

"Obviously this wasn't the resolution we were hoping for," Sgt. Pound said.

The announcement came just hours after the RCMP confirmed that Mr. Jenkins was, indeed, in Canada.

As early as Wednesday, officials on both sides of the border suspected Mr. Jenkins, a 32-year-old former Calgary resident, had illegally slipped into Canada, possibly by foot from Washington State to British Columbia.

The RCMP, which had received tips about the case as far away as Montreal and Toronto, had issued a Canada-wide arrest warrant for Mr. Jenkins, a real-estate developer and businessman who claimed to be a millionaire.

Mr. Jenkins hadn't been seen by police since he walked into a Los Angeles police station on Aug. 15 and reported his wife, Jasmine Fiore, a former swimsuit model, had gone out to run errands and get her nails done, but then never returned.



Earlier that day, the 28-year-old woman's naked, mutilated and beaten body was found in a dumpster in Buena Park, a city southeast of Los Angeles.

She had been stuffed in large, grey suitcase, and her fingers and teeth had been removed. Police officials were later able to identify Ms. Fiore by tracing the serial numbers on her breast implants. A preliminary coroner's report suggests she was strangled.

Ms. Fiore's mother, Lisa Lepore, said that she had a mixed reaction to news of Mr. Jenkins' death.

"It brings some closure to what's been going on," said Ms. Lepore, who lives in Maui, Hawaii. "We don't have to worry about looking for him anymore or being worried that he is a threat to any other women or men."

She added: "We still have a long process of closure."

Ms. Lepore spoke on NBC's Today show.

The tabloid press has feasted on details of the case ever since California law officials disclosed Mr. Jenkins, a former VH1 reality-television contestant, was a "person of interest" in Ms. Fiore's murder.

Popular gossip website TMZ.com has posted numerous photographs of the couple, who were married in Las Vegas in March after reportedly only knowing each other for two days (Ms. Fiore's mother has told reporters they had a stormy relationship and the marriage was later annulled).

TMZ also posted a video showing Ms. Fiore dancing in a bikini beside a pool earlier this month in Las Vegas. Mr. Jenkins shot the video and is heard saying: "God, I love my life. And I love my wife. … Luckiest guy in the world, right here."

Last Thursday, Mr. Jenkins was charged with Ms. Fiore's murder.

With files from The Canadian Press and Associated Press

 

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