08/27/2013 10:07 EDT | Updated 10/27/2013 05:12 EDT

Online Escort Deaths Prompt Criticism Of Police


An advocate for members of the sex trade in Vancouver says police need to do more to protect women, after homicide investigators said they're investigating the suspicious deaths of two online escorts in a New Westminster, B.C., apartment complex.

Kate Gibson, who works with the WISH Drop-In Centre Society for sex-trade workers, says police should have warned the public after the first woman was found dead more than two weeks ago.

The body of Jill Lyons, 45, was found in her apartment suite in the 200 block of 11th Street on Aug. 12. The cause of death was unclear and police are still awaiting the results of a toxicology report.

Karen Nabors, 48, was found dead in her apartment in the same building on Sunday.

Police say the deaths are suspicious, but have not said if the women were specifically targeted or if the deaths are linked.

"I think two, two weeks apart, is extremely alarming. I think the New West police department and IHIT really needs to step up and get public about this," Gibson said.

"In Vancouver, we've already seen this happen. Not stepping up, not dealing with this. And could they have prevented a second death? Maybe they could have."

Gibson said she hopes police will be able to provide a description of a suspect soon.

On Monday, police put out a warning asking sex workers to be vigilant.

"IHIT’s priority is to reach out to all escorts and remind them of the risks involved and to take extra precaution as it is unclear at this point why, or even if, they are in fact being targeted," Sgt. Jennifer Pound said in a statement.

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