Signs that Iana Kasian was in trouble began with her mother's concern over the failure to respond to her messages. It would soon emerge that the Ukrainian model had been tortured to death and drained of her blood by her boyfriend, Blake Leibel.
Iana Kasian was born on January 27, 1986, and at the time she died at the hands of her heartless fiancé in 2016, she was 30 years old. She had studied law and worked as a prosecutor before she transitioned into modeling while in California. That is when she met her boyfriend and future murderer, Blake Leibel.
Iana Kasian was quite happy with the direction her life had taken after she got involved with Leibel. Her life in Kyiv was now behind her, and she became part of the Hollywood social scene, thanks to her rich boyfriend and aspiring film producer.
Leibel was the son of Lorne Leibel, a wealthy real estate mogul who built over 30,000 homes in the Toronto area. After his mother died in 2011, he fought and got half of her $12 million estate.
How Iana Kasian And Blake Leibel Met
Leibel had gotten started as a young creative in Hollywood even before he met Iana Kasian. That's when he met Amanda Braun, who eventually became his first wife and the mother of his first son.
Braun and Leibel met in 2006, but he left in 2015 when she was about to have their second child. This was after he met Iana Kasian and convinced her his marriage to Braun was over.
A few months later, Iana Kasian was pregnant with his child. This was seemingly great news, and Leibel seemed excited at the prospect of having a baby girl.
Weeks before her brutal death, Iana had given birth to the couple's baby Diana. Iana Kaisan and Blake Liebel seemed happy after the birth of their daughter.
To the world, Iana Kasian and Blake Leibel seemed like a perfect couple. However, all was not as it appeared.
The Demise Of Iana Kasian And Blake Leibel's Relationship
Cody, Leibel's brother, was deep into high-stakes poker when Leibel met Iana Kasian. He was part of a poker circuit known as "Molly's Game," Later, there was a movie with a similar name.
Leibel was worried about his brother's gambling debts, and he feared that some dangerous people would attack them one day. However, this made little sense as both brothers came from money. In any case, Cody was mainly in real estate and was also operating a record label.
According to him, Russian mobsters would want to exact revenge on the family over his brother's gambling habits. In general, Leibel was afraid of anyone connected with gambling.
However, the truth was that the main reason behind his stress was his messy love life. In fact, he confided to a friend that he was afraid of losing everything.
At the time, he was in the process of divorcing his first wife, who was about to have their second child. Although he had parted ways with Braun and was living with Iana Kasian, he was also involved with another woman, Constance Buccafurri. Living this deceitful life was taking its toll on him.
He felt trapped, and he knew his web of lies would soon be exposed. Everything was about to blow up in his face, and that mortified him. Leibel was increasingly erratic.
For instance, after Kasian had a baby through C-section, Leibel threatened to leave if she did not have sex with him. He also seemed fed up with her and kept requesting to leave her for another woman. Hoping to salvage the relationship, Kasian agreed to let the infant baby live with her mom to focus on Leibel.
Her mom was increasingly concerned with how controlling Leibel had become.
At one point, Leibel sexually abused Buccafurri, the woman he was having an affair with. He was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault, and Kasian had to bail him out.
As expected, this caused more than a few problems at home. Kasian moved out of their apartment due to the charges.
However, on May 24, 2016, he convinced her to go back because he "couldn't live without her." This turned to be a deadly mistake for Iana Kasian. On May 26, 2016, she was confirmed dead.
The Horrific Crime Scene
Around the time Iana was murdered, her mother, Olga Kasian, had a bad feeling as she went for days without hearing from her. Eventually, she got in touch with the police so they could check on her daughter.
When the police finally arrived at the scene, they were in for a shock. What awaited them was one of the most horrific crime scenes they had ever seen.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff Department Sergeant claimed that this was the most heinous crime he had seen in nearly 30 years working in law enforcement.
When the police got to the apartment, Leibel was inside, and he yelled that Iana was not at home. During the barricade stand-off between the police and Blake Leibel, he was eventually persuaded to surrender, at which point he came out with nothing but boxer shorts.
When the police finally went in looking for Iana Kasian, they faced blood. When they found Iana Kasian's body, the scalp was missing, and part of her right face had been torn off. According to the coroner, there was no scalp present apart from little bits in the back of the neck.
The coroner estimated that Iana Kasian had managed to live for an excruciating eight hours after her scalp was removed. Her body also had abrasions, bruises, and a human bite mark. She was also found naked, washed, and covered in a Mickey Mouse blanket.
However, Leibel swore that he didn't even know his wife his dead. The case was unique because of how brutal the murder had been. What Leibel did was simply inconceivable.
The millionaire property heir had tortured and mutilated his fiancee inside their home in a West Hollywood apartment. After an autopsy was done on Iana's body, it was discovered that she succumbed to head trauma and exsanguination.
Iana Kasian And Blake Leibel: Love That Ended With Life Without Parole
During the trial, it was revealed that Iana's ear had been found in a dumpster outside the home, where she died. Her scalp was never found. It is believed that Iana was tortured, scalped, and murdered in front of her child.
According to Deputy District Attorney, he was throwing away pieces of his fiance as if they were bits of trash.
On April 29, 2020, Blake Leibel was found guilty of killing his girlfriend. The court noted there was "overwhelming forensic and expert evidence" that proved that Leibel was guilty of the crimes he was charged with in court. As far as the court justices were concerned, Leibel had every intention of making his girlfriend suffer and die.
According to the court, his actions also demonstrated consciousness of guilt since he tried to lie about Iana's whereabouts, clean up the crime scene, and destroy some of the evidence.
In June 2018, Blake Leibel was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. In court, Leibel was found guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated mayhem, and torture. Therefore, he will be spending the rest of his life in jail.
Blake seemed calm and emotionless as the jury's verdict was read out, even as Olga, Iana Kasian's mother, broke down in tears. Her relatives from Ukraine had flown into her their support during the trial.
After the verdict, Leibel did not look at his brother Cody or his wife Braun, who attended the penultimate hearing.
Diana, the girl he had with Iana, was left in the care of her grandmother. It is believed that he killed Iana over the jealousy he felt over his baby. He did not like that his fianceé was giving so much attention to their newborn.
A year earlier, his life seemed to be going well when he was happily married to Amanda Braun, a former model.
However, he ended the relationship with Braun abruptly and cut off ties with his friends, who imagined it was because he was embarrassed about the failed relationship with his wife.
According to Braun's lawyer, Leibel changed suddenly and just left. At around this time, friends claimed that Leibel seemed obsessed with themes of violence and brutality.
Eventually, he murdered Iana Kasian.
Olga, Iana's mother, filed a $56 million wrongful death lawsuit against Blake Leibel.
Did Blake Use His Graphic Novel As A Blueprint In Iana Kasian's Murder?
The media claimed that Iana's murder was the most gruesome in Hollywood's history. Blake seemed to have used his graphic novel as a "blueprint" for the brutal murder he committed. One of the images in his novel depicts a woman lying naked on a bed without a head.
As a film director, he had directed Bald. However, Syndrome was the most successful project he ever directed. The graphic novel about a rogue doctor trying to isolate the root of evil in the brain featured women getting brutally killed.
The foreword in the book asks:
"If you loved hurting things, what would you do?"
Some of the scenes in this film were brought to life in Iana Kasian's murder.