Sister issues plea for help in case of missing pregnant woman
Published Friday, February 21, 2014 10:20AM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 21, 2014 8:42PM EST
The sister of a pregnant university student from Halifax who went missing a week ago issued “a national plea” Friday for information about the case.
Loretta Saunders, a student at St. Mary’s University, was last seen Feb. 13 at her apartment in the Cowie Hill neighbourhood. Ontario Provincial Police found her car in Windsor, Ont., on Tuesday evening and arrested a couple shortly after.
“I’d like to make a national plea to see if anyone has seen her car or has any information,” Saunders’s sister, Delilah Terriak, told a Halifax news conference on Friday.
The couple that was arrested has been charged with possessing stolen property -- Saunders’s car -- as well as fraud. Police allege the couple used Saunders’s bank card in the days between when she disappeared and when her car was found.
Victoria Henneberry, 28, and her boyfriend Blake Leggette, 25, made their second appearance in a Windsor courtroom on Friday and will remain in custody until Halifax police can travel to Ontario and take them back to Nova Scotia.
“I think the authorities are on their way to get them,” defence lawyer Maria Carroccia told reporters in Windsor. “So I think they will probably be here within the next day or two.”
Saunders’s boyfriend says she was living with him at his apartment, and he last saw her as she left to collect $700 in overdue rent from Henneberry and Leggette, who were subletting her apartment.
Terriak, who flew to Halifax from British Columbia to search for Saunders, appealed for witnesses who may have seen her sister’s car as it travelled between Nova Scotia and Ontario to come forward. The 2000 Toyota Celica has a distinctive loud muffler and a spoiler on the back. The Newfoundland plate is: HCP 543.
“Someone had to have seen her or the people who were driving her car,” Terriak said.
Friends and strangers alike have been gathering at the Native Friendship Centre in Halifax to offer support to Saunders’s family and to organize search efforts. Cheryl Maloney of the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association pleaded with Canadians from Nova Scotia to Ontario to download and print posters from the organization’s website.
“We need these posters to be printed out and distributed along the highways, at toll booths and gas stations,” Maloney told reporters on Friday. “Anywhere and everywhere.”
Friends have also set up a website to help Saunders’s five brothers and her parents travel from Labrador to Halifax. More than $7,000 was raised through the site in one day.
Saunders, 26, was three months pregnant when she disappeared. She had been studying at St. Mary’s University for the past three years, and was working on a thesis about missing and murdered women.
She is described as an Inuk woman with light-brown hair. She stands 5’7” and weighs 120 pounds.
“She is the strongest person that I know, that we know,” Terriak said. “She is so strong and that’s what’s keeping me going through this.”
With a report from CTV Atlantic’s Kelland Sundahl