CALGARY - Police agencies Canada-wide were on the lookout Thursday for a former reality television contestant wanted for questioning in the death of his ex-wife in the United States.
Federal Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan said reports that Ryan Jenkins had crossed the border into Canada were unconfirmed, but police were watching for him.
"The Canadian Border Services Agency does work very closely with law enforcement partners both here in Canada and across the border (and) they are well aware of the particular case," he said.
"I know that at a local level here and at a provincial level across Canada, police forces are on the lookout with the potential that he might be in this country."
U.S. police say the 32-year-old Jenkins, who is from Calgary, is a "person of interest" in the death of former model Jasmine Fiore, 28, whose nude body was found stuffed in a suitcase in a trash bin in California.
Jenkins was a contestant on the VH1 reality TV show "Megan Wants a Millionaire" before marrying Fiore. Her death followed by his disappearance has sparked a media frenzy south of the border.
The Whatcom County sheriff's office in northwest Washington said deputies received word Wednesday that Jenkins could have made his way to Canada. His car and an empty boat trailer were found at a marina in Blaine, just south of Vancouver.
They also had a report that a man matching his description arrived by boat at Point Roberts, U.S. territory about 16 kilometres away and at the tip of a peninsula reachable by land only from Canada.
Vancouver radio station CKNW reported that Jenkins's mother lives in that city. The station quoted a family friend, who said his mother went to meet him in Seattle on Wednesday, saying it was a family emergency.
The station also reported that the mother refused to comment.
Acting Calgary police Chief Al Redford said officers in Jenkins's home town were working with other law enforcement agencies and looking for tips.
"Our fugitive apprehension detail is currently on the hunt checking connections, associates, doing backgrounding, that sort of thing," he said.
Fiore was last seen alive with Jenkins at a poker game in San Diego. Jenkins reported her missing Saturday night to the Los Angeles County sheriff's department, police said.
Buena Park Lt. Gary Worral said Jenkins is "merely a person of interest" at this point, but added it was odd that despite the media attention Jenkins had not come forward.
It's still not clear how Fiore died, although a preliminary coroner's report indicated she was strangled.
Fiore's mother has said that in March, after taping for the VH1 series finished, Jenkins met Fiore in a Las Vegas casino and the two were married soon after. But Lisa Lepore said "they had a big blowout" in May and Fiore had the marriage annulled.
Court records show that Jenkins was charged in June in Clark County, Nev., with a misdemeanour count of "battery constituting domestic violence" on accusations that he hit Fiore in the arm. He is scheduled for a Dec. 18 non-jury trial.
Court documents from Calgary also show Jenkins was charged with assaulting a woman in July 2005. He was given a conditional discharge with 15 months probation and ordered not to have contact with the woman. There were reports that she was his girlfriend at the time.
Jenkins, variously described as an architect, real estate developer and investment banker, appeared in three episodes of the series "Megan Wants a Millionaire" about a woman seeking to land a wealthy bachelor by putting suitors through their paces, such as designing a marketing campaign for her pet chihuahua.
A resume posted on the professional networking site LinkedIn.com says Jenkins graduated from Mount Royal College in Calgary in 1999, has a licence to fly commercial airplanes and worked in investment sales and as president of a boutique development company focused on cutting-edge green technologies.
- With files from The Associated Press and Lauren Krugel in Calgary