Charge laid in New Westminster stabbing death

A 20-year-old man has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with a stabbing death in New Westminster.

January Marie Lupaz, 26, was found in her home in the 500 block of Third Avenue with stab wounds around 10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30. She died several hours later in hospital.

Charles Jameson (Jamie) Neel was arrested on Wednesday and was to appear in New Westminster provincial court on Thursday, according to a news release from the Integrated Homicide Investigation Unit (IHIT).

In 2009, Lapuz became the first transgendered person to be on the executive of Sher Vancouver, an organization supporting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered South Asians when she was named a social coordinator, according the organization's website.

A year earlier, Lapuz legally changed her name from John Carlo Embo Lapuz, according to IHIT.

Following the death, police sought an Asian male in his mid-20s, about five-foot-five with short black hair and a muscular build seen running from the scene.

The release said IHIT investigators are continuing to investigate a motive for the murder, and credited Abbotsford police with helping in the case.

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