VANCOUVER — RCMP say fugitive murder suspect Ryan Jenkins has been found dead of an apparent suicide in a motel in Hope, B.C., about 90 minutes drive east of Vancouver.
“At this time the RCMP federal border integrity program is able to confirm that a deceased person that was found in a motel in Hope, British Columbia, is in fact Ryan Jenkins,” said Sgt. Duncan Pound, spokesman for the Mounties border integrity unit.
“At this time the investigation into the circumstances of his death is continuing but preliminary evidence suggests that he took his own life.”
Jenkins was found at the Thunderbird Motel in Hope and had apparently hanged himself, said Farrah Emami, spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office in California, which is contact with Canadian police. Crime scene investigators identified Jenkins through fingerprints, she said.
The manager of a Hope, B.C., motel where police have discovered the body of fugitive murder suspect Ryan Jenkins, says a young woman checked him in on Thursday.
Kevin Walker, who manages the Thunderbird Motel, about 150 kilometres east of Vancouver, says Jenkins arrived in a Chrysler PT Cruiser with Alberta licence plates, and stayed in the car while the woman checked them in.
Walker says the woman paid cash for three days, and when the couple didn’t check out, he unlocked the room and found Jenkins hanging from the bar of a clothing rack.
Hope is about 150 kilometres east of Vancouver just off the Trans-Canada Highway.
Pound said the local RCMP detachment responded to a public call Sunday afternoon about a deceased person.
They then called in investigators from the border integrity unit who were spearheading the massive manhunt for Jenkins.
The former Calgary real estate developer and reality show contestant was wanted in California on first-degree murder charges after the mutilated body of his ex-wife was found in a dumpster near Los Angeles.
Jenkins, 32, disappeared last week but his boat was found Wednesday moored at a marina not far from the U.S-Canada border south of Vancouver.
The discovery triggered a huge dragnet and many false sightings of Jenkins.
Pound said police don’t yet know how long Jenkins was at the motel before his body was discovered.
He said Jenkins’ next of kin have been notified.
Jenkins’ mother, Nada Jenkins, lives in Vancouver, and his father, noted architect and sometime business-partner Dan Jenkins, lives in Calgary.
Pound said the B.C. Coroner’s Service is now investigating and police will continue looking into the circumstances of Jenkins death and try to trace how he ended up in Hope.
RCMP only earlier Sunday had confirmed Jenkins was in Canada, citing credible information they would not disclose.
They issued an appeal for Jenkins, who U.S. authorities said was dangerous and may have had a gun, to turn himself in.
“We want to make an appeal directly to Ryan to say let’s ensure that nobody gets hurt — nobody around him, nobody in the public, no police and certainly not himself,” Pound said earlier Sunday.
Widespread publicity about the Jenkins manhunt triggered a wave of sightings that proved false, including a man taken off an Air Canada flight from Vancouver to Toronto on Friday night and another questioned aboard a Vancouver transit bus on the weekend.
Jenkins faced first-degree murder charges in Orange County, Calif., after the discovery last week of Jasmine Fiore’s naked, mutilated corpse inside a suitcase in a suburban Buena Park dumpster south of Los Angeles.
Fiore, a 28-year-old former swimsuit model, was briefly married to Jenkins earlier this year but had the union annulled. Jenkins was facing charges after allegedly hitting her.
She and Jenkins were apparently seen checking into a posh San Diego hotel but apparently that was the last time Fiore was seen alive.
Jenkins disappeared after reporting her missing around the time her body was discovered.
She had been strangled and her fingers and teeth removed. Fiore was identified using the serial numbers from her breast implants.
U.S. authorities issued an alert for Jenkins on Wednesday as a person of interest in Fiore’s death.
It was the same day police in northwest Washington discovered Jenkins’ SUV and boat-trailer at a boat ramp in Blaine, near the U.S.-Canadian border.
There was an unconfirmed report the U.S. Coast Guard chased his powerful speedboat, which was later found moored at a marina in Point Roberts, Wash., from where the border is an easy and unimpeded walk.
On Friday, the Orange County district attorney filed first-degree murder charges against Jenkins.
A Canada-wide warrant was issued for his arrest after an extradition request from the United States Justice Department.
To facilitate extradition, the Orange County district attorney had agreed not to seek the death penalty.
Jenkins’ father, noted Calgary architect Dan Jenkins, has confirmed he’s spoken to police but was not asked to appeal to his son to surrender.
An exasperated Nada Jenkins, Ryan’s mother, told The Canadian Press in a brief conversation that she too has been in touch with police.
“Hah! They’re on my tail all day. I’m in contact with them constantly,” she said before hanging up.
Pound would not say if they believe Jenkins’ parents or anyone else has helped him.
“It would take probably until the concluding portion of the investigation before we were able to determine did they fully co-operate or did they do anything that might have assisted Ryan,” he said.