Man charged with three Metro Vancouver murders (w/ photos)

Published: January 7, 2014

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Simrit Saran, Jatinder Saran, Sheri Hickman and Herb Auerbach, left to right during a IHIT press conference announcing the arrest of Sarbjit Bains charged with the two counts of first degree murder in the deaths of Jill Lyons and Karen Nabors and second degree murder in the death of Amiritpal Saran. Ric Ernst / PNG

KEVIN GRIFFIN
POSTMEDIA NEWS

An investigation by the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team that relied heavily on evidence from surveillance video has resulted in charges connected to three separate murders last year in New Westminster and Surrey.

Sarbjit Bains, 32, was arrested Friday and charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Jill Lyons and Karen Nabors, according to Super. Kevin Hackett, the officer in charge of IHIT.

Bains is also charged with second-degree murder and indignity to human remains in connection with the death of Amritpal Saran.

Evelina Urbaniak 36, was also arrested Friday. She is charged with indignity to human remains and accessory after the fact in Saran’s murder.

“I would like to point out that security camera and video surveillance played a crucial and key role in securing evidence,” Hackett said at a news conference at RCMP’s E Division Headquarters in Surrey on Monday.

Neither of the accused has a criminal record.

RCMP control access to the 12500 blk of Colebrook Road February 24, 2013 in Surrey, B.C. Ian Lindsay/PNG

Saran’s body was found in the 12100-block of Colebrook Road on Feb. 24 last year. Lyons’ body was found Aug. 12 in her suite at Elmwood Apartments in New Westminster.

Less than two weeks later, on Aug. 25, Nabors’ body was found inside her apartment in the same complex. The two women were friends.

Sgt. Jennifer Pound said Bains is the only person linking the three victims.

“We’re not going to say that it’s totally random, but we’re not going to speak further about that either,” she said. “It will all come out in court. Unfortunately, that’s a detail we have to keep to ourselves right now.”

Pound said police would not disclose motives for the three murders.

She said the successful investigation was the result of cooperation and information-sharing between the RCMP and the New Westminster Police Department.

“We know that crime sees no borders — and that’s how we will continue to investigate,” she said. “This investigation shows clearly that it is our priority to information-share. I think that was key to getting this to where we are today.”

Police sources say the accused dealt with girls for gangs and provided a sort of pimp service. Amritpal Saran was known to police and was one of his customers, the sources say. At Monday’s news conference, members of the families of the three victims talked about what their loved ones meant to them.

Herb Auerbach, father of Karen Nabors, took issue with comments about the high-risk nature of his daughter’s line of work as an online escort.

“That happened to be her profession,” he said. “This narrow characterization not only ignores the depth and complexity of her character, but it implies that she accepted this kind of risk.

“Whether her work was more or less risky than others either in the fisheries or forestry business is not relevant. Murder is a crime not acceptable in any job.”

Sheri Hickman, mother of Jill Lyons, said that once her daughter became addicted to OxyContin after surgery, her life fell apart. Her daughter did things she was ashamed of to get money for drugs and to support herself, Hickman said.

Lyons was on methadone, and planned to go into a recovery program before she was murdered.

Her mother said Lyons loved dogs so much she fostered homeless animals for the SPCA. It was a barking puppy that alerted neighbours to her body four days after her death.

“We have lost a daughter and her siblings have lost a sister and our grandsons have lost their mom,” she said.

“This year, we had an empty chair at our Christmas table. Jill’s life was snuffed out on Aug. 9, 2013, and now we have three children and we have a hole in our hearts.”

Simrit Saran, the younger sister of Amritpal, said while her brother had addictions, people are quick to judge others without knowing them. Her brother was full of life, she said, and planned to one day have a family of his own.

“He would always say to us ‘Nobody can touch me when I’m sober and clean’,” she said. “God did not give us the power to take someone’s life away. To the cowards that did this to our Amrit, you must have thought you got away. But this is just the beginning. Your suffering starts now.”

kevingriffin@vancouversun.com

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