Nova Scotia

Loretta Saunders vigil draws hundreds

Hundreds of people held a vigil for missing student Loretta Saunders in Halifax Tuesday evening.

Blake Leggette charged with possession of stolen goods after roommate disappears

About 200 people held the vigil for Loretta Saunders in Halifax. (CBC)

Hundreds of people held a vigil for missing student Loretta Saunders in Halifax Tuesday evening.

More than 200 people gathered in Parade Square, holding candles and signs and speaking. A group of Mi'kmaw women drummed and sang. 

Many members of her family attended the highly emotional gathering. People prayed she would come safely home. 

Earlier Tuesday, Blake Leggette, a suspect in her disappearance, learned he will remain in jail until at least Friday, when he has a bail hearing.

Leggette, 25, was brought to a Halifax courthouse on Tuesday morning, but didn't make an appearance in court.

Saunders, 26, a Saint Mary's University student who is originally from Newfoundland and Labrador, was last seen by her boyfriend the morning of Feb. 13.

Her car was found in Harrow, Ont., south of Windsor, last week.

Saunders's roommates, Leggette and Victoria Henneberry, 28, were arrested shortly after the car was found and were charged by Ontario police with stealing a vehicle.

Leggette was also charged with fraud for allegedly using Saunders's bank card, but that charge has been stayed by the Crown in Ontario. 

Sister in court

Saunders's sister, Delilah Saunders-Terriak, was in court Tuesday with Cheryl Maloney, the president of the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association. They were disappointed that Legette did not appear.

"We wanted him to see us, to see our pain," Maloney said. 

Saunders-Terriak, along with her brother James, said they were finding strength in family.

“Of course we're hurting and we miss her, but she would want us to do this with strength and composure, and bring her home safe,” she said.

Edmund Saunders, the missing woman's oldest brother, has arrived in Nova Scotia from Labrador.

"Somewhere out there, my sister's out there. She may be cold, she may be hurt, she may be scared," he said. "I'd like to know where my sister is."

Saunders, 37, said the situation is taking a toll on the entire family, who remain hopeful Loretta is alive and will be found. 

"I'm the oldest brother. I'm supposed to be the protector. I feel like I've failed," he said. "But this will give me the drive to make something happen."

Henneberry due in court Thursday

We wanted him to see us, to see our pain.- Cheryl Maloney

Police brought Henneberry back to Halifax Tuesday and she is scheduled to make her first court appearance on Thursday.

According to the missing woman's boyfriend, Yalcin Surkultay, Saunders told him she was going to try to collect rent money from her new roommates prior to her disappearance.

Leggette and Henneberry had moved in with Saunders a month earlier after connecting through Kijiji, but apparently had not yet paid rent.

Surkultay told CBC News his missing girlfriend may have been pregnant with his child.

"I’m trying to stay strong. I'm glad the family is making me feel like family too," Surkultay said Tuesday.