This picture comes from January Marie Lapuz’s Facebook page. Lapuz was identified as the victim in a weekend stabbing that was New Westminster’s first homicide of 2012.
Photograph by: Facebook photo , THE RECORD
METRO VANCOUVER — The victim of a fatal stabbing last weekend in New Westminster was an active volunteer who is described as a “bright light and shining star.”
January Marie Lapuz volunteered as a social coordinator, fundraiser and performer with Sher Vancouver, a social and support group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender South Asians.
The 26-year-old was stabbed Saturday night and died Sunday morning in hospital. No one has been arrested in connection with her murder.
Alex Sangha, founder of Sher Vancouver, said Lapuz had a positive effect on almost everyone she met.
“She was a hit right from the start,” Sangha said. “She would volunteer as a host at our social events, help us out with fundraising and she’d even perform. … She did a great Beyonce and she was a great singer and dancer. She was the life of the party. She made everybody laugh. We already miss her a lot.”
Police say witnesses reported seeing a man running from the murder scene and investigators are asking for the public’s assistance in locating him.
He is described as an Asian male in his mid-twenties, approximately five foot five inches, with short black hair, a muscular build and wearing a black muscle shirt and grey shorts.
“We are still looking for the public’s help in locating the suspect,” Sgt. Jennifer Pound of the integrated homicide investigation team said Thursday. “We are also still looking into a motive and the IHIT team is working with the New Westminster Police on this case.”
Sangha said Lapuz had a positive effect on his life.
“January educated me about acceptance, about not being judgmental, about being open-minded,” Sangha said. “The obstacles she overcame as an immigrant, as a transgender person, as a person in poverty … she really overcame a lot. … I learned that society is not providing enough supports for people like January Marie.
“She was a bright light and shining star of Sher Vancouver.”
Lapuz was born with the name John Carlo Embo Lapuz, but legally changed names in 2008.
Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to contact the IHIT tip line at 1-877-551-4448 or by email to email@example.com.
People who wish to remain anonymous can contact CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
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