A pregnant Saint Mary’s University student who has been studying cases of missing and murdered woman is herself missing, and her family is growing increasingly concerned for her well-being.

Loretta Saunders, 26, was last seen Thursday evening at her apartment in Halifax’s Cowie Hill neighbourhood. She was in contact with a friend on social media Friday afternoon, but she hasn’t been in contact with friends or family since.

Police say the conversation with her friend was normal, and Saunders didn’t indicate she would be leaving town. She was reported missing to police on Monday.

An aspiring lawyer from Newfoundland and Labrador, Saunders has been a student at Saint Mary’s University for the past three years. She just finished writing a thesis about murdered and missing women.

Her family says it is very unusual for her to be out of touch with loved ones.

“It’s not normal for my sister to not talk to me dad every day. That’s his princess,” said her brother, Edmund Saunders via phone Tuesday afternoon.

“She don’t go a day without calling him. She wouldn’t hurt him like that.”

He also says his sister sent a strange text message to her boyfriend.

“She told him that she had locked herself out of online banking and that she couldn’t remember my mother’s maiden name to unlock it,” he said. “You know, I really find that hard to believe.”

Edmund says Saunders phoned him about three weeks ago to tell him she was pregnant. He says she was excited about the pregnancy.

Her boyfriend tells CTV News they have been together for 2.5 years. He says something doesn’t feel right, describing her disappearance as a nightmare he is trying to wake up from.

He also says it’s strange that Saunders is now missing after she had been studying cases of missing women.

Edmund says his sister had been living with roommates but she hadn’t been living with them for long, and his family never met them.

Police say there is no information to suggest Saunders has met with foul play but they are concerned for her well-being.

“My mother had a phone call last night from the people working on the case there,” said Edmund.

“They say now that they had a ding on her cell phone in Windsor, Ontario. I mean, she wouldn’t go to Windsor, Ontario without telling anyone.”

Police say they can’t confirm that her cell was traced to Ontario. Police in Windsor confirm they are working with Halifax police on the case, but wouldn’t provide any details.

“We have no information as to where she is or where she might be,” says Halifax Regional Police spokesperson Const. Pierre Bourdages.

Members of Saunders’ family are now leaving their homes in Labrador and on the west coast to come to Halifax.

“I’m not sitting here any longer waiting for to hear bad news about my sister. I’m coming and I’m going looking,” said Edmund.

Saunders is described as a white woman with light brown hair. She is five-foot-seven and weighs 120 pounds.

She is believed to be driving a blue 2000 Toyota Celica with Newfoundland and Labrador licence plate HCP 543. Police say the car has a loud muffler and a spoiler at the back.

Anyone with information on Saunders’ whereabouts is asked to contact police.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell