A criminal charge has been laid in the stabbing death of New Westminster transgender resident January Marie Lapuz.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said today (December 6) that 20-year-old Charles Jameson "Jamie" Neel faces a charge of second-degree murder. Police arrested Neel on Wednesday (December 5), and he was slated to make a court appearance this afternoon.
On September 30, Lapuz was discovered with stab wounds in her home. The 26-year-old woman later died in hospital.
IHIT said in a news release that it is continuing to investigate the motive for the murder.
Canada's Criminal Code defines first-degree murder generally as a "planned and deliberate" killing. "All murder that is not first degree murder is second degree murder," the code states.
Lapuz hailed from the Philippines, and was actively involved with Sher Vancouver, a social and support group created for queer South Asians but open to all ethnicities. Sher founder Alex Sangha told the Straight in October that Lapuz was the first transgender person to hold an executive position with the organization.
"In many ways, her being involved with Sher opened it up to many more people," Sangha said at the time.
On November 20, Lapuz's name was one of dozens read out at Transgender Day of Remembrance events around the world.