WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – A white Mercedes-Benz found in a parking lot in West Hollywood belonged to an ex-model whose brutal murder prompted an international manhunt for a former reality TV contestant wanted in the murder, police said Wednesday.
Police received an anonymous telephone tip and found the car belonging to 28-year-old Jasmine Fiore in a parking lot next to a grocery store, Buena Park police Detective Eric Burciaga said.
Police have not found a murder scene and say Fiore could have been killed in the car before her nude body was found stuffed in suitcase in a Southern California trash bin on Aug. 15.
Investigators did not attempt to open the car and were not able to see inside because of its tinted windows. A tow truck transported it from the scene.
The examination of the car "could take quite awhile because they're going to be very methodical going through it," said Tom Hession, chief inspector for the regional fugitive task force of the U.S. Marshals Service.
A witness told police the car had been parked in the lot since the day of the killing. A note slipped under the windshield wiper read, "This is a private parking lot. Unattended vehicles may be towed at owner's expense."
Fiore's fingers and teeth had been removed when her body was found, presumably to hamper efforts to identify her. Police learned her identity by tracing the serial number on her breast implants.
Suspect Ryan Jenkins, 32, her ex-husband and a former contestant on the VH1 show "Megan Wants a Millionaire," was found hanging from a clothes rack in a hotel room in Hope, British Columbia on Sunday after a frantic dash to the border. An autopsy concluded he committed suicide.
In Canada, authorities said a silver PT Cruiser matching the description of the vehicle seen dropping Jenkins at a motel was parked at his half-sister's condominium in Vancouver.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Cpl. Norm Massie declined to say whether Alena Jenkins is the woman who checked Jenkins into the Thunderbird Motel in Hope, British Columbia, three days before he was found dead.
A message left with a woman answering Alena Jenkins' phone was not immediately returned. The woman said Jenkins' half-sister was away arranging funeral details.
Police have identified the woman who helped Jenkins check into the motel but have not released her name. She was not in custody and police were considering whether she would face charges.
Massie said police would need proof the woman knew Ryan was wanted before they could file charges.
"We're not going to confirm or deny anyone involved in the investigation," Massie said. "Our investigation is on two fronts, first we want to find the circumstances around the incident at the motel in Hope and, as importantly, we have yet to determine how Ryan entered Canada from the U.S. and if any one assisted him doing so."
Jenkins left a real estate job in his native Calgary, Alberta, earlier this year to pursue a Hollywood career and found some success. He was among a group of wealthy young men on the reality show who tried to win over a materialistic blonde. An episode featuring Jenkins aired around the same time police sought him for Fiore's murder.
He was also a participant in a competitive reality series, "I Love Money 3," that was canceled by VH1 after news of the murder.
Jenkins and Fiore met in Las Vegas in March, shortly after Jenkins finished taping for "Megan Wants a Millionaire," and they married on March 18, according to court documents. The couple separated shortly afterward, but had reportedly reconciled.
Lisa Lepore told The Associated Press her daughter had the marriage annulled in May.
On Aug. 13, Jenkins and Fiore checked into a luxury boutique hotel in San Diego. Authorities have said it was the last time Fiore was seen alive. The next day, Jenkins left alone.