Police confirm a man and a woman are facing charges in connection with the death of 26-year-old Loretta Saunders, whose body was found off a highway in New Brunswick Wednesday.

Police say 28-year-old Victoria Henneberry and 25-year-old Blake Leggette each face a charge of first-degree murder in Saunders’ death. They are both due to appear in Halifax provincial court Friday.

“What led the investigators to laying charges today is a totality of information since the time the case was reported throughout the last several days,” says Supt. Jim Perrin of the Halifax Regional Police.

Investigators believe Saunders was murdered in the apartment she rented to Leggette and Henneberry on Feb. 13 - the same day she disappeared. They won’t speculate on a possible motive for the killing, however.

Henneberry and Leggette are also charged with stealing Saunders’ 2000 Toyota Celica.

The couple was arrested in Harrow, located near Windsor, Ont., on Feb. 18 after Ontario Provincial Police found Saunders’ car in the area.

They were taken into custody in Windsor and charged with theft of a motor vehicle. Leggette arrived in Halifax from Windsor Sunday evening while Henneberry was brought to Halifax Tuesday evening.

Henneberry was brought to court for a bail hearing on the theft charge Thursday morning. The matter was adjourned to give lawyers more time to review the case.

Defence lawyer Patrick MacEwen said outside court that the lawyers needed time since Henneberry had just arrived in Halifax late Tuesday.

Some of Saunders' friends and one of her brothers sat in the back of the courtroom for the brief hearing, but said nothing to reporters as they left the building

Saunders’ boyfriend Yalcin Surkultay says she had rented her Cowie Hill Road apartment to Henneberry and Leggette in January.

Surkultay says Saunders met the couple through Kijiji and was on her way to the apartment to collect about $700 in overdue rent money when he last saw her on Feb. 13.

Saunders was reported missing Feb. 17. Her body was found in the median off Route 2 of the TransCanada Highway near Salisbury, N.B. around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Bourdages said Saunders' body is at the medical examiner's office in Saint John to undergo an autopsy in the coming days. He said many pieces of information led police to the location close to the highway.

"The body was not found by a bystander, she wasn't found by someone driving in the area," he said. "The information that is before us helped us narrow down the area."

An aspiring lawyer from Newfoundland and Labrador, Saunders had been a student at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax for the past three years. The Canadian flag was flying at half-mast at the university on Thursday. Saunders was set to graduate in May.

“The whole SMU community is very saddened by the loss,” said one university student Thursday.

“It is really sad, obviously. It is a small school, so it hits close to home,” said another.

The Inuk woman, who was three months pregnant, had been writing a thesis about murdered and missing aboriginal women.

In St. John’s, there are calls for a national action plan to protect aboriginal women.

“So many of us felt like we personally knew her, even though we didn’t, and to be doing a research paper on the very subject she became a statistic of is just such a cruel irony,” says Linda Ross of the Newfoundland Advisory Council Status of Women.

National Chief Shawn Atleo of the Assembly of First Nations said Saunders' death brings focus on the need for a national commission of inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.

"This is a call to action that this must end now," he said in a statement. "We cannot add one more name to the list of murdered or missing women. We need to see action by all parties to end violence, to respect and honour women and families, to ensure our communities are safe and secure for all."

Members of Saunders’ family travelled to Halifax to make public appeals for help in finding the missing woman. They plan to attend court Friday when Leggette and Henneberry appear on first-degree murder charges.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Kelland Sundahl and The Canadian Press