"Ryan Jenkins is an animal," said a friend of the victim's at an emotional news conference seeking help in finding the fugitive

By Howard Breuer Mark Gray
August 20, 2009 06:25 PM
Splash News Online, Ethan Miller/Getty

After Ryan Jenkins eluded an international manhunt and slipped across the Canadian border, authorities in Orange County, Calif., charged the TV reality star Thursday with his wife’s mutilation-murder and obtained a warrant for his arrest.

Jenkins, 32, who stars in VH1’s Megan Wants a Millionaire, was wanted in the strangulation death of Jasmine Fiore, 28, whose nude body was found in a Dumpster last weekend. Her fingers and teeth had been removed, officials said at an emotional news conference attended by Fiore’s friends and family.

“Ryan Jenkins is an animal,” said Robert Hasman, a former boyfriend of Fiore’s. “What he has done to Jasmine is unspeakable.”

Authorities believe Jenkins has fled to his native Canada, walking across the Washington state border.

Orange County District Attorney spokeswoman Farrah Emami tells PEOPLE that Jenkins would have to be apprehended and extradited for any trial to proceed. Emami also says there is no special circumstance attached to the charge that would make Jenkins eligible for the death penalty. Canada would therefore have no reason to resist extraditing Jenkins once he is captured, she says.

No possible motive was offered by authorities. At the press conference, Fiore’s friends and family broke into tears when the condition of her body was described.

A real-life millionaire, Jenkins got a quick wedding to Fiore, who had done swimsuit modeling and promotional work for Playboy, on March 18 at the Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas. “They seemed happy. I don’t remember much. The wedding wasn’t very long,” says chapel worker Lorenzo Savignano, who served as an official witness. “They said their vows, they were regular vows. At the end they hugged and kissed and seemed very happy.”

He adds: “They were sober. If people are drunk we won’t let them get married.”

Fiore’s mother later told reporters the marriage was annulled, but there’s no record of that in Las Vegas courts.

In June, Jenkins was charged in Nevada with misdemeanor “battery constituting domestic violence” for allegedly striking Fiore in the arm. A court date was set for December.

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