Halifax police lay first-degree murder charges in Loretta Saunders killing
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Police in Halifax say they believe Loretta Saunders was killed in the apartment she rented with Victoria Henneberry and Blake Leggette on Feb.13, the last day she was seen around the Cowie Hill Road building and nearly two weeks before her body was discovered in New Brunswick.
Henneberry, 28, and Leggette, 25, were each charged with first-degree murder Thursday afternoon by Halifax police in the killing of the 26-year-old Halifax woman.
"I can’t imagine what a tragic event this is for Ms. Saunders’ family and friends. We’re glad we were able to bring this to some sort of conclusion quickly,” said Supt. Jim Perrin, officer in charge of the integrated major crimes division.
Perrin told reporters police believe Saunders’ was killed in the apartment on 41 Cowie Hill Rd. but couldn't comment on a motive or how she died.
He said only the “the totality of evidence” in the case let police to lay the charges, but added first-degree murder indicates there was “some planning to the crime.”
Police ruled Saunders’ missing person case a homicide on Wednesday afternoon, and said her body had also been found in a median off the Trans-Canada Highway near Salisbury, N.B.
Perrin said they were led to find her body through breaks in the investigation and ongoing information.
Ontario police arrested Henneberry and Leggette last week after they were found near Windsor, Ont. and charged with stealing Saunders’ car.
Perrin confirmed they were in a relationship.
Halifax police interrogated Henneberry on Wednesday, before announcing the case a homicide, but Perrin wouldn't say whether she or Leggette had confessed because the case is before the courts.
Police ruled Saunders' missing person case a homicide on Wednesday afternoon, and said her body had also been found in a median off the Trans-Canada Highway near Salisbury.
Saunders' remains have been taken to the coroner's office in Saint John, police said, where an autopsy will be conducted over the next few days.
Perrin said details on how and why Saunders' was killed will come out during the court process.
Both Henneberry and Leggette are due back in court Friday for a bail hearing, and to face the new murder charges.
Saunders hadn’t been seen since she left her Cowie Hill Road apartment on Feb.13, and was officially reported missing by her family a few days later.
Saunders was an Inuk woman from Labrador, and in the last year of her honour’s sociology degree at Saint Mary's University. Saunders was working on a thesis about missing and murdered Aboriginal women.