HALIFAX – The disappearance of university student Loretta Saunders is being treated as a homicide by police in Halifax, ending the hope her family had expressed that she would be found safe after vanishing two weeks ago.
Halifax police say Saunders’s body was found at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in the median off Route 2 of the Trans-Canada Highway, west of Salisbury, N.B. Salisbury is just west of Moncton, about a three-hour drive from Halifax.
Police say they have identified suspects in the homicide and charges are anticipated in the case.
Saunders, 26, a student at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, was last seen on the morning of Feb. 13 in the Cowie Hill Road area of the city.
Two people have been charged with stealing her 2000 Toyota Celica, which was found in Harrow, near Windsor, Ont., last week.
Members of Saunders’s family have travelled to Halifax to make public appeals for help in finding the young Inuit woman, who was originally from Labrador. A vigil was held for her Tuesday night in Halifax.
“We recognize that Loretta’s family and friends, along with the community, have rallied together in an effort to bring her home safely,” Const. Pierre Bourdages of Halifax Regional Police said in a statement. “This is a tragic incident and a profound loss.”
Delilah Terriak has said her sister was set to graduate from university in May and was doing her thesis on missing and murdered aboriginal women.
Ontario Provincial Police arrested Blake Leggette, 25, and Victoria Henneberry, 28, and they were returned to Halifax to face auto theft charges.
Leggette is scheduled to appear in court for a bail hearing on Friday, while Henneberry is scheduled to make an appearance in Halifax provincial court on Thursday.
Annie Clair, 43, told a news conference last week that she met Saunders just before she disappeared and was due to be interviewed by her as part of her thesis.
Clair, who lives in the Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick, said Saunders was three months pregnant, and wanted to talk to her about native traditions, the language and aboriginal women.
“She wanted to learn because she didn’t have that part of her growing up,” she said.