A post-mortem shows that a model, who Los Angeles police say was tortured and killed by her graphic-novelist boyfriend, was scalped, had portions of her face torn off and had been drained of all her blood.
Iana Kasian, 30, was found dead in a West Hollywood apartment in May 2016. The Ukrainian model was lying next to her two-month-old baby who was not hurt.
Her boyfriend, Blake Leibel, 36, the son of Canadian real estate tycoon and Olympic yachtsman Lorne Leibel, has been charged with her murder and could face the death penalty if convicted. He has pleaded not guilty.
At least one of his novels has drawn disturbing parallels to the murder case. The book, ‘Syndrome’, starts with flashbacks of a serial killer slashing throats and draining blood, the New York Daily News reported.
Raised in the lap of luxury, Leibel took his inheritance and moved to California, setting himself up in a Beverly Hills mansion while still in his teens.
He dabbled in film production and writing macabre graphic novels that chillingly foreshadowed Kasian’s grisly slaying.
Dr James Ribe of the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office called the horrific mutilation and knife torture of Kasian “unprecedented outside of wartime.”
“(Kasian’s) entire scalp was traumatically absent and was not found, was not present with the body. Her skull had been stripped down to the surface of the bone…there was no scalp present except for little bits in the back of the neck.
“Also portions of the right side of her face were torn away, including the right ear and part of the posterior face on the right side, all the way down the jawline.
“She lived for at least eight hours…after receiving the scalp injury and the bruise to the collarbone,” Ribe said.
Even the long-time LA coroner was left nearly speechless by the battered corpse he examined. All her blood had been drained.
“I have never seen this before. And I doubt hardly any forensic pathologists in this country or abroad have even seen this, outside of, perhaps, wartime…it’s extremely rare,” Ribe added.
The autopsy report released on Sept 20 shows there was also an injury to Kasian’s jaw that appeared to be human bite marks.
Homicide cops are ranking the murder as the most brutal in the history of Los Angeles.
Leibel abruptly dumped his pregnant wife Amanda Braun in 2015, leaving her with two young kids.
On May 26, 2016, police officers found him barricaded behind the bedroom door of his West Hollywood apartment that he shared with Kasian and their baby, Diana.
His demeanour at the crime scene was reportedly ice cold.
Detective Sgt Robert Martindale alleged Leibel appeared blissfully unaware that the mother of his child was dead.
“I pointedly said, ‘She’s dead in that bed’.
“And he’s like – looks at us and goes, ‘Well, I guess you’ll find out who did it then’,” Martindale said.
One Hollywood producer saw Leibel in the months before the grisly murder at the world famous ComicCon in San Diego, where a stack of his latest graphic novels was being given away for free.
“He wanted to be a respected comic book guy and he used his money to create that image,” the producer said. “He wanted to be cool and edgy – and he wasn’t.”
“But you could just tell, he wasn’t right in the head.”
Leibel is charged with one count of murder, mayhem, aggravated mayhem and torture, as well as special circumstance allegations of the murder involving torture and mayhem.
The particularly heinous nature of Leibel’s alleged crimes makes him eligible for California’s death penalty.