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Body of murdered Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette returned
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Herald archive photo
Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette.
EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter
Months ago, the mom of a missing toddler found dead in Blairmore said she was angry she couldn’t bury her child because authorities wouldn’t release the two-year-old’s body.

“The hardest part about all of this right now is we don’t know when she’ll be returned, we don’t know anything about that. We keep getting told ‘Maybe next week, maybe next week,’ ” Cheyenne Dunbar told the Calgary Herald’s Annalise Klingbeil.

“It’s been a long waiting game, and it’s getting harder and harder and harder to deal with.”

Last week, the waiting game ended when Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette’s remains were finally returned.

In accordance with the family’s wishes, the little girl was cremated, her ashes commingled with those of her father, 27-year-old Terry Blanchette.

On Sept. 15, 2015, Hailey’s remains were found in a rural area in the Crowsnest Pass, the day after Blanchette was discovered dead inside his Blairmore home.

Blanchette’s remains have already been released but authorities waited six months before returning Hailey’s.
continued below ...
RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Jack Poitras said her body is evidence in an ongoing homicide investigation but that the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has finished its forensic examination.

“[Police] wanted to make sure they weren’t missing anything prior to releasing her,” he said.

Darrell Sydora, owner of Fantin’s Funeral Chapel, said Hailey’s remains were quietly returned to members of her family on April 1.

“We were in contact, discreetly, with family members,” said Sydora. “It was just a matter of presenting [the family] with the cremated remains and offering friendship and support.”

“It took a long time,” he said. “It is not typical, but this is not a typical situation.”

Terry’s sister Amanda Blanchette said she is glad to have Hailey’s remains returned.

“I think it's great of course,” she said.

Tammy Tracey, a family friend and Terry’s coworker at Pure Country Bar and Grill, said she remains emotionally overwrought when she thinks about the tragedy.

“It’s still a tough subject to talk about, it’s still quite fresh for everybody,” she said.

“But I guess they’re finally together again, I’m glad they’re together, I guess it was meant to be.”
continued below ...
A public funeral for Hailey and her father took place Oct. 9, 2015 in Crowsnest Consolidated High School.

An obituary on Fantin’s Funeral Chapel’s website said Hailey was Blanchette’s “greatest treasure.”

“She transformed Terry into the perfect father and role model for his little princess,” it said. “Hailey never knew sorrow or hardship; she was the ray of sunshine in her parent’s lives.”

The day after Hailey’s body was found, RCMP announced that 23-year-old Derek Saretzky, a former friend of Dunbar’s, had been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in relation to the deaths of Blanchette and Hailey.

He is also charged with committing indignity to a body in connection to the little girl.

Following a psychiatric evaluation, Saretzky was found fit to stand trail. His last court appearance was Feb. 26. His next appearance is in June for a preliminary inquiry.

The inquiry will last from June 20 to 30 and will determine if there's enough evidence to take the matter to trial.
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April 13th ~ Vol. 85 No. 15
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