After moving from Ukraine to Los Angeles in 2014, 30-year-old model Iana Kasian 35-year-old graphic novelist Blake Leibel, who later became her boyfriend. Leibel's family come from money and he is the heir to his father's million-dollar property fortune in Toronto, Canada.
It's unclear how long Kasian and Leibel had been dating before they had a baby together — a daughter who is now 1.
In the days leading up to Kasian's brutal death at the hands of Leibel, according to police — there were signs her boyfriend was becoming increasingly unstable and violent.
A year before the murder, Leibel ws living a completely different life. He was happily married to a former model Amanda Braun who was the mother of his son and pregnant with another.
But suddenly one day, he randomly walked out on her when she was eight and a half months pregnant and cut off all ties with his friends.
"We all thought [he stopped talking to us] because he was embarrassed of what had happened with his wife," one friend said.
“(Amanda was) 8 and a half months pregnant and one day, he’s gone,” Braun’s lawyer, Pedram Mansouri, said. “He just completely changed, from what I understand.”
Braun gave birth to their second son in August 2015, and within months, Kasian — his new girlfriend — became pregnant with his child as well. His ex-wife said she only found out about Kasian when she bumped into her ex on the street.
“Blake … had a mid-life crisis, left his wife, immediately got another girl pregnant, abandoned all his friend,” Mansouri said. Friends who were close to the graphic novelist said during that time he became obsessed with themes of violence and brutality.
He had even recently published a graphic novel titled "Syndrome" that was filled with cartoon images of decapitated and bloodied women.
The novel tells a story about a serial killer who is trying to find a cure for men who "do terrible things."
The book's foreword reads: "If you loved hurting things, what would you do?"
In May, Kasian gave birth to a daughter, and anyone who spoke to Leibel around that time said he seemed happy.
What should have been a happy time in Leibel's life was quickly shadowed by violence and scandal.
On May 20, 2016, he was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and spent 15 hours in jail before posting $100,000 bail. After learning of the arrest, Kasian moved out of their apartment and in with her mother.
On May 24, Leibel reached out to her and asked her to meet because he "couldn't live without her." She agreed and went back to their apartment.
When she didn't return, Kasian's mother went to the apartment and knocked on the door and yelled for them to come out. When no one opened up, she called the police. Law enforcement felt they did not have enough probable cause to break down the door.
It wasn't until the next morning that they finally did — and they found a gruesome murder scene.
Police found Iana Kasian's mangled body lying dead next to her newborn daughter, who was alive.
According to the autopsy report, her scalp was cut off — along with portions of her face — her jaw was bitten, blood was drained from her body and she suffered blunt force trauma to the head. The crime mirrors similar details of the crimes committed in Leibel's book.
Her official cause of death was exsanguination, the act of draining a person's blood. The autopsy also revealed that she lived for at least eight hours after receiving the scalp injury.
“I have never seen this before," Dr. James Ribe, of the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office. "And I doubt hardly any forensic pathologists in this country or abroad have even seen this, outside of, perhaps, wartime ... it’s extremely rare.”
Leibel has been charged with murder, mayhem, aggravated mayhem and tortured. His lawyers are planning to argue that he is mentally unfit for trial.
Emily Blackwood is an editor at YourTango who covers pop culture, true crime, dating, relationships and everything in between. Every Wednesday at 10:20 p.m. you can ask her any and all questions about self-love, dating, and relationships LIVE on YourTango’s Facebook page. You can follow her on Instagram (@blackw00d) and Twitter (@emztweetz).