September 23rd, 2015 ~ Vol. 85 No. 37
RCMP Major Crime Unit remains in community
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Stock photo
Pass Herald Reporter
Members from the RCMP Major Crime Unit are still in the community conducting investigations into the killings of both Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette, her father Terry Blanchette and Hanne Meketech.

“We’re checking in with investigators in the mornings to see if there’s any update or anything to relate,” said Cpl. Sharon Franks.

Blanchette, 27, was found dead in his home on Sept. 14. The RCMP issued an Amber Alert that spanned three provinces and Montana for his missing two-year-old daughter.

The toddler's remains were discovered the next day in a rural part of Blairmore.

Derek 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 Hailey and her father. He was arrested without incident in the Blairmore area and remained in police custody. He was scheduled to appear in Lethbridge Provincial Court this morning.

Saretzky is a Blairmore resident and an employee at Prestige Cleaners and Tailors in Blairmore. He has no criminal record but was scheduled to appear in Pincher Creek Provincial Court Sept. 15, for a break and enter incident that occurred in Blairmore in August and possession of stolen property under $5,000.

RCMP Superintendent Tony Hamori said the suspect and Blanchette knew each other, but would not provide further details.

“The RCMP extends its deepest condolences to the Blanchette and Dunbar family with respect to Hailey and Terry’s loss, and to all those who knew them and to the citizens of Blairmore,” he said. “Understandably, these recent events have been traumatic for the citizens of Crowsnest Pass. Three violent murders within a week would rock any community.”

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Last week, Hailey’s mother, Cheyenne Dunbar, 20, confirmed that she had at one time been friends with Saretzky and said she is struggling to understand why her daughter was killed. She said it was a surprise to her that Blanchette and Saretzky know each other.

Dunbar called Hailey the “greatest child ever” and “perfect.” She 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 had been living apart for a year. She said she last spoke to Blanchette on Sept. 9, while preparing to pick up her daughter.

Mayor Blair Painter spoke to the media after police announced Saretzky had been charged.

“The Saretzkys are longtime residents of our community,” said Painter. “They’re a well known family.”

“We’re a small community, as you know, we all look after our neighbours,” he said. “I still believe we have a safe community – this was an anomaly, this doesn’t happen in the Crowsnest Pass.”

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.

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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.

A source close to the Herald has confirmed that Meketech lived next door to Saretsky’s grandparents.

An autopsy conducted by the Medical Examiner’s Office in Calgary determined that her death was a homicide.

The cause of death is not being released at this time. Police located Meketech’s family and have informed them of the investigation.

September 23rd ~ Vol. 85 No. 37
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