A friend of Iana Kasian, the young woman who was tortured and murdered with a knife last month in an apartment on Holloway Drive, has launched a campaign to raise money to return her body to the Ukraine for burial.
The fundraising goal is $15,000. Donations can be made online.
The online donation page offers more details about Blake Leibel, Kasian’s boyfriend. Leibel, 35, has been arrested and charged with the torture and murder of Kasian on or between May 24 and May 26 at the apartment they shared in the 8500 block of Holloway. Kasian, 30, was mutilated before she was killed, and all of the blood was drained from her body, according to Deputy District Attorney Tannaz Mokayef. She had given birth to their daughter on May 3.
“On May 21st Iana moved out from the West Hollywood apartment she shared with Blake Leibel after learning that he was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault earlier that day,” says a statement on the GiveForward page by Yuliya Goldman of San Francisco. “She moved in with her mother, who reported her missing just a few days later.” Leibel had been arrested on May 20 by Los Angeles police officers on sexual assault charges.
Goldman said that Kasian’s mother, Olga, “flew in from Kiev to help with Iana’s newborn baby and was not planning on staying permanently.”
“Iana’s daughter is safe with Olga,” Goldman says. “However, this nightmare is far from being over for Kasian’s family. Iana’s body need to be transported to her native Ukraine for proper burial, which is both expensive and complicated procedure. Please donate what you can and spread the word. Kasian’s family in desperate desperate need of our help now.”
Goldman also noted that the GiveForward effort is the only legitimate campaign for Kasian’s family in the United States. There is an effort underway in the Ukraine managed by Iana’s brother and sister.
More information has emerged about Leibel, the son of a wealthy Toronto real estate developer, in recent days. Canada’s National Post has reported that a year ago Leibel lived in a Beverly Hills mansion with his wife, Amanda Braun, who he married in March 2011, and their young son. He left Braun last summer, when she was eight months pregnant, and filed for divorce in July 2015. In August 2015 Braun gave birth to their second son.
“He owned a mansion in Beverly Hills, a 1926 Tudor-inspired home … He had a crew of Toronto exiles — all young and rich and loving L.A. — that he worked with on comics and movies and films. He had, in other words, all the elements of an Instagram life. And then he allegedly destroyed it all in a horrible way,” the Post said.
Leibel, a regular at West Hollywood’s private Soho House, worked on various graphic novels and screenplays. According to the Post, one of Leibel’s collaborators said he “‘seemed obsessed’ with themes of violence and brutality.” Leibel conceived a graphic novel titled “Syndrome,” published in 2010, whose protagonist is Dr. Wolfe Chitel, who studied the life of a serial killer to find out what made “men like him do terrible things.” Chitel is the name of Leibel’s wealthy maternal grandfather. In recent years Leibel has been trying to adapt a concept for a screenplay into another graphic novel.
The Post reported that some of Leibel’s friends and associates believe he became troubled when his mother died in 2011. He had lived with her since her separation from his father 30 years earlier. She left Leibel her Toronto home, her Miami condo and other assets worth millions of dollars. Until then, Leibel said in a lawsuit contesting her will, he relied on contributions from his estranged father and his mother to pay his bills.
In its story, the Post said Leibel contacted Kasian on May 24 to apologize and asked her to meet with him at the apartment on Holloway.
Several stories about Leibel have noted that images in “Syndrome“, Leibel’s graphic novel, resemble what happened to Kasian. “In that book, a serial killer hangs a couple by their feet, draining their blood. In another panel, a female corpse lies, headless on a bed, in a puddle of blood,” the Post reported.
Those images, which are graphic and which some readers may find disturbing, are on the following pages: