Couple charged with murdering Loretta Saunders

Loretta Saunders, 26, was last seen outside her Halifax apartment building on Feb. 13. Her car was...

Loretta Saunders, 26, was last seen outside her Halifax apartment building on Feb. 13. Her car was found in Harrow, Ont., near Windsor, and two people were arrested. (Handout photo/QMI Agency)

Nicole Riva, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:01 PM ET

The duo found with Loretta Saunders' car has been charged with her murder, Halifax police say.

Victoria Henneberry, 28, and Blake Leggette, 25, are both accused of first-degree murder, police announced Thursday.

Saunders was last seen Feb. 13 and her body was found Wednesday in a median off the Trans-Canada Highway near Salisbury, N.B.

The couple were Saunders' roommates at a Halifax apartment, RCMP Insp. Trish MacCormack said.

"Our investigators believe she was killed in her apartment in Halifax on Feb. 13," MacCormack said. "We're aware of the motive, but it's not information we can share because it's before the court."

Saunders' body was discovered because of "a combination of factors" arising from the police investigation, she said.

RCMP and Halifax Regional Police don't expect more charges to be laid, MacCormack said.

Saunders' murder is an all-too-familiar pattern for indigenous women, her thesis adviser said. "Loretta is dumped in a ditch like road kill in a province that once paid European invaders for the scalps of Mi'kmaq women, children and men," Darryl Leroux, assistant professor at Saint Mary's University, wrote Thursday on the website Halifax Media Co-op. "Our society has discarded indigenous women and girls in much the same manner for generations." Saunders, 26, an Inuk woman originally from Labrador, was writing her thesis on missing and murdered aboriginal women. She was reportedly three months pregnant. Saunders' sister Delilah Terriak posted on her Facebook page late Wednesday: "I didn't lose my heart and soul in vain, I will continue to fight for our stolen sisters."

Henneberry and Leggette are scheduled to appear in court Friday. They're also charged with theft of a motor vehicle.

Fraud charges in Ontario for allegedly using Saunders' debit card were dropped.


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