September 16th, 2015 ~ Vol. 85 No. 36
Blairmore man charged with murdering Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette & father Terry
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
22 year old Derek Saretzky of Blairmore.
Pass Herald Reporter

Derek James Saretzky, 22, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of indignity to a human body in relation to the deaths of toddler Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette and her father Terry Blanchette, 27, the RCMP confirmed today.

Saretzky was arrested without incident in the Blairmore area on Tuesday and will remain in police custody until his first court appearance Sept. 23 at 9:30 a.m. in Lethbridge Provincial Court.

Saretzky worked at Prestige Cleaners and Tailors in Blairmore. He has no criminal record but was scheduled to appear in Pincher Creek Provinal Court yesterday for one set of outstanding charges dating from an incident that occurred Aug. 8, 2015 when he was charged with break and enter in Blairmore and possession of stolen property under $5,000.

Police also announced that the suspect knew Blanchette.

“We have determined that Saretzky was an acquaintance of Terry Blanchette,” said RCMP Supt. Tony Hamori at a press conference in Blairmore.

This morning, Hailey’s mother, Cheyenne Dunbar, 20, confirmed that she also knows Saretzky but that the two had not been in touch for some time.

“We were just close friends and I haven’t talked to him in three years,” she said.

Dunbar called Hailey the “greatest child ever” and “perfect” and said she doesn’t know why anyone would hurt her daughter.

Dunbar also said Blanchette was an “awesome father” and added she and Blanchette had a good relationship.

“We weren’t together but we were on very good talking terms. We talked about everything. He called me, texted me, sent pictures, I sent pictures; it was always back and forth between us.”

Dunbar and Blanchette shared custody of their daughter and been living apart for a year now. She said she last spoke to Blanchette on Sept. 9.

A white van believed to be the same vehicle reportedly seen leaving the crime scene Monday morning has been located. Police said the van was an important piece in their investigation, and generated a number of tips in Alberta and across Canada.

Police would not confirm whether or not Hailey and Blanchette’s murder were connected with the death of Hanne Meketech, 69, who was found dead inside her home in the Bushtown area of Coleman on Sept. 9.

“We’re exploring those connections through the investigative process some of that information I can’t speak to at this point,” said Insp. Derek Williams, Alberta RCMP Major Crimes.

Hailey’s body was found in a rural area near Blairmore yesterday afternoon. The scene has been secured and its location will be released upon completion of investigative work.

The RCMP was conducting ongoing searches in the Blairmore area today while the investigative team has reached out to a Crown prosecutors office to discuss the evidence.

September 16th ~ Vol. 85 No. 36
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