Loretta Saunders, 26, was reported missing on Monday. She was last seen Thursday evening and was in contact with friends online Friday afternoon. Halifax Regional Police
Halifax police say they've found a taxi driver they believed may have witnessed something in connection with Loretta Saunders's disappearance.
The missing Saint Mary’s University student was last seen Feb. 13.
Sgt. Nancy Rudback said the major crimes unit interviewed the driver on Saturday night. But she won't say if the driver provided any useful information.
Saunders's car was found in Harrow, Ont., near Windsor, on Tuesday.
Her roommates, Blake Leggette, 25, and Victoria Henneberry, 28, have been charged with possession of a stolen vehicle and fraud.
The fraud charge against Leggette is connected to the use of Saunders's bank card.
Search efforts ramp up
More than a dozen people met outside the Amnesty International Office in Halifax on Sunday to hold a traditional smudging ceremony for Saunders.
Cheryl Maloney, president of the Nova Scotia Native Women's Association, said they're stepping up the campaign by getting a bigger office as a base for volunteers.
“We need to plaster that highway you know from here to Ottawa and retrace those steps. Somebody has to have information. It's hopeful that she's somewhere and waiting to be found,” she said.
“Just put a poster up. I recommend everybody come out and do it. You know, come and try a couple. It's very emotional. You're feeling the family and our volunteers are sharing their pain they're sharing their hopes, you know. They're sharing the despair.”
More than $12,000 has poured into an online fund to pay for the posters and the costs of flying her family from Labrador to Halifax. Saunders's brother Edmun flew to Halifax on Saturday to join his sister Delilah a legion of volunteers trying to find her.
"I went all my life thinking people were generally uncaring, until now. Now, I can't express how much kindness people have shown," he said in a release.
Maloney said the parents of Saudners's boyfriend Yalcin Surkultay are also trying to travel to Halifax. She said they've filed paperwork in Turkey for visas.
Some corporations are also pitching in.
"We believe this is a worthy cause and we're hoping that with our donation that we'll be able to assist in a happy ending in this endeavour,” said Smitty’s restaurant manager Lorraine Houston.
Saunders had just submitted her honours thesis proposal focusing on missing and murdered aboriginal women.
"She started doing more reading and talking with people in her family and also people in the Mi’kmaq community in the Halifax area and it really started to crystallize for her and having those conversations, sort of personal healing nature of the research, really came to the fore,” said her supervisor Darryl Leroux.
He said the ordeal is hard on the volunteers and some are seeking crisis counselling.
Anyone with information about Saunders can contact Halifax Regional Police at 490-5016. Anonymous tips can be sent to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
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