A West Hollywood model was tortured, mutilated and scalped before she was killed last year, according to an autopsy report obtained by PEOPLE.
Iana Kasian, 30, was found dead on her bed inside her California condominium in May 2016. Her 36-year-old boyfriend, Blake Leibel, a comic book creator, animation director and screenwriter, was later arrested in the killing.
Leibel, the son of Lorne Leibel, a former Olympic athlete and the founder of Toronto-based real estate company Canada Homes Inc., was charged with one count each of murder, mayhem, aggravated mayhem and torture. He also faces special circumstance allegations of the murder involving torture and mayhem, making him eligible for the death penalty.
He has pleaded not guilty. His next court appearance is scheduled for November 30.
The killing was discovered on May 26, 2016 when officers stopped by the couple’s home because Kasian’s mother hadn’t heard from her daughter in three days.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies forced their way inside the apartment and discovered Kasian, who had just given birth to the couple’s baby girl on May 3, lying nude in her bed and covered with a red Mickey Mouse themed blanket. Her head was resting on a pillow.
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“Her scalp, right ear and most of her right check was missing,” the autopsy states. “Her left cheek has a large circular defect.”
Parts of her head, according to the report, showed evidence “of being neatly cut with some kind of sharp bladed instrument. The scalp itself is not present with the body.”
Deputies later searched the apartment and discovered blood splatter and strands of Kasian’s hair and what looked like a large bloodstain on a bed headboard.
The coroner ruled that Kasian bled to death from her severe head wound. She also had a bite wound on her left arm.
While searching the condo, deputies allegedly found Leibel barricaded inside another bedroom. He had allegedly placed furniture and bedding all around to prevent the deputies from entering.
The child was not in the house at the time.
On May 20, less than a week before the body was found, Leibel was arrested on accusations of sexual assault, according to the Los Angeles Times. He was later released on $100,000 bail, jail records confirm, but now he is back in custody after the recent charges.
It was not immediately clear if he has an attorney who could comment on his behalf about any of the charges he faces.
Kasian reportedly moved out of their condo and into an apartment with her mother when she learned of the arrest, the National Post reports. After Leibel reached out to her, Kasian allegedly agreed to meet him for a short visit and never returned to her mother’s house, the outlet reports.
Friend: Suspect Was Drawn to ‘Extreme Violence and Torture’
Leibel, a father of three and a world-class gamer, worked on the television adaptation of the movie Spaceballs and wrote and directed the comedy Bald. Through his company, Fantasy Prone, he published a number of works including Gold Medal Rabbit, a children’s book produced with the help of actor Wilmer Valderrama, according to the Post. In 2010, he created the concept for the graphic novel Syndrome, which details a neuropathologist’s quest to study a serial killer.
“He was this rich kid that seemed to exist in another world,” Leibel’s friend Isaac Stein tells PEOPLE.
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Stein, who went to elementary school with Leibel, says he spoke to him a few months before the slaying when he reached out to him about an idea for a graphic novel that explores female-to-male sexual abuse.
A friend who didn’t want to be identified tells PEOPLE, “Professionally speaking, he was too dark,” he tells PEOPLE. “His ideas, his personality, his sense of humor. He was also clearly a trust fund kid who was abusing himself and had enablers.”
The friend says Leibel regularly talked about violence towards women “in a way that was deeply uncomfortable. Maybe he did have a break, as they say, but there is no question in my mind that extreme violence and torture have been part of his creative ideation for many years.”
According to the Times, Leibel filed for divorce from his wife Amanda Braun in July 2015. It’s unclear when he met Kasian, a native of Kyiv, Ukraine.
Colleague Lenny Brown says the last time he spoke to Leibel he admitted to having relationship problems.
“This last time at Soho House it was weird,” he says. “He looked a wreck. [Like] a guy who had a rough Saturday night but it was in the middle of the week and 11 a.m. He looked like hell.
“‘I have a tough thing at home,’ he says.”