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'Come home safe:' Large crowd gathers at Grand Parade for Loretta Saunders' vigil

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Some knew Loretta Saunders. Others did not.

However, the crowd that gathered for a vigil for her at Grand Parade in Halifax on Tuesday night had one thing in common - they want her to come home safely.

Saunders, a 26-year-old Inuk woman who lives in Halifax and is originally from Newfoundland and Labrador, was last seen on Feb. 13 leaving her Cowie Hill Road apartment. Her family reported her missing a few days later.

About 100 people held candles to their chests, or posters in front of them, for the vigil, which included members of Saunders family.

The crowd stood circled around a group of women singing and pounding drums in Inuk ancestral music.

“I think it’s up to the people who make a statement like this, to make sure that girls like Loretta are found and find the people that are responsible for her loss,” said Louis Bernard, who is from Cape Breton and attended the hour-long vigil. “Being Aboriginal myself, it hurts even more.”

A lot of aboriginal women have been disappearing, or even killed, he added.

"I came to show support for Loretta and other missing women."

The crowd grew as the minutes passed and it grew darker and chillier. People who knew the music sang to the songs and everyone listened intently as poetry and prayers were said.

"It’s wonderful to come together, we need to stand strong together," said Cora Hamstead, who is from Saunders' home province of Newfoundland and Labrador. "We`re here to pray and wish her to come home safe."

Tracey Oakley, a volunteer field worker with Amnesty International, said something like this really hits home to people when it happens in Halifax.

"Just like everybody else, I hope she comes home safe and sound, for everybody that loves her." Oakley said. "It's been too long."

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