LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California authorities on Thursday charged a Canadian reality TV star with murder in the death of a pin-up model, as they continued a manhunt for him begun soon after the woman’s body was found stuffed in a suitcase.
Police suspect Ryan Alexander Jenkins, 32, may have fled the state and returned to Canada after model Jasmine Fiore’s body was found in the Southern California town of Buena Park.
Jenkins appeared in the television show “Megan Wants A Millionaire” on VH1, which premiered after completing production in March. But the cable network said it has suspended future airings because of Fiore’s death.
The body of Fiore, who was strangled, was found on Saturday inside a suitcase in a trash container.
Police initially said they simply wanted to talk to Jenkins, who had been in a relationship with Fiore, but after they were unable to track him down, authorities on Thursday revealed that they had charged him with murder.
Jenkins had wed Fiore, 28, in Las Vegas this year, but the marriage was reported annulled, according to media reports.
A police lieutenant said Fiore’s fingers and teeth had been removed, and prosecutors have asked that Jenkins be held on $10 million bail when he is found.
Authorities in Washington state said a man matching Jenkins’ description was seen boarding a boat bound for a remote area where it is possible to walk into Canada.
Jenkins is originally from the prairie province of Alberta.
Fiore had recently moved to Los Angeles from Las Vegas. She had worked as a model in advertising and for Playboy as a coordinator for their “Girls of Golf” events.
On “Megan Wants a Millionaire,” Jenkins was among 17 men described as millionaires, who all competed for the affections of former Playboy model Megan Hauserman.
When introduced on the show, Jenkins was said to have a net worth of $2.5 million.
Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Mohammad Zargham