Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette. - File Photo

Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette. - File Photo

Mother of murdered Alberta girl faces accused killer

Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette’s mother faced her accused killer, Derek Saretzky, in court

The mother of a dead two-year-old girl sat trembling in the witness box Wednesday as she faced her daughter’s accused killer in court.

Cheyenne Dunbar testified at the trial of Derek Saretzky, who is charged with first-degree murder in the 2015 deaths of Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette, Hailey’s father Terry Blanchette, who was 27, and 60-year-old Hanne Meketech.

Court heard that Saretzky, 24, told investigators he had dated Dunbar, but Dunbar testified the two had not been involved romantically.

“Friends,” was all she said when asked by the Crown about the nature of her past relationship with the accused.

Dunbar said she met Saretzky when Hailey was three months old and they spent time together for about five months “a few times a week.”

With her voice barely above a whisper, she said they would hang out at Saretzky’s mother’s house or Blanchette’s house in Blairmore, Alta.

“When you were hanging out with Mr. Saretzky would Hailey be present?” asked Crown prosecutor Mike Fox.

“A couple of times, yes,” Dunbar replied.

The testimony lasted about six minutes.

Dunbar identified Saretzky for the jury and broke down in tears as she left the courtroom.

The jury has already heard that Saretzky confessed to slitting Blanchette’s throat and later strangling, dismembering and cannibalizing Hailey before burning her remains.

Earlier in the day, RCMP DNA expert Janice Lyons testified that she examined several blood samples relating to the deaths of Hailey and her father.

Lyons said blood on one of Saretzky’s boots was found to be Hailey’s, but no DNA could be retrieved from the firepit where the girl’s remains were found.

“DNA being exposed to extremely high temperatures for a prolonged period of time would degrade the DNA to the point that we would not be able to detect it,” said Lyons.

DNA from Blanchette was found at both his home and in a white van owned by the Saretzky family, she said.

RCMP Cpl. Brian Fitzpatrick was the lead investigator in the Meketech case. Meketech was killed in nearby Coleman, Alta., five days before Blanchette was killed and Hailey was kidnapped.

He testified that after an Amber Alert was issued for Hailey, the Meketech investigation came to a stop and he went to Blairmore.

“The first few hours there were quite chaotic,” Fitzpatrick said.

Saretzky became a suspect in the senior’s death when he confessed that he killed the father and daughter and officers noticed similarities in the way Blanchette and Meketech were killed.

He eventually confessed to the third murder in an RCMP interview six months later.

Fitzpatrick said he initially asked that a sexual assault kit be used on Meketech.

”It didn’t make any sense to me why this woman was murdered,” he said. “I wanted to try to obtain as much evidence as possible because I didn’t know why this had happened.”

Another test was done on her fingernails to look for DNA evidence.

“We started to realize she had a bit of a fiery personality,” he said.

“There were some defensive wounds on her hands so that leads me to believe … Hanne wasn’t going to go down without a fight. I think she came out swinging.”

Both tests came back negative.

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Derek Saretzky faces charges in the deaths of Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette, her father Terry Blanchette and Hanne Meketech. - Image: Facebook photo

Derek Saretzky faces charges in the deaths of Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette, her father Terry Blanchette and Hanne Meketech. - Image: Facebook photo

Just Posted

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-Pool
61 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

Twenty-nine people are in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care

Cody Younker was sworn in as a city councillor in 2018. (File)
Revelstoke city councillor requests leave of absence in wake of sexual assault allegations

Cody Younker is accused in civil court of sexual abusing a teen in 2014

Cody Younker, Revelstoke city councillor. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)
Revelstoke councillor accused of sexually abusing Langley teen while school chaperone

Lawsuit alleges Cody Younker sexually abused student while volunteering on school trips

Revelstoke doctor Vikki Haines receives a vaccine for COVID-19. (Photo via Facebook)
COVID-19 vaccines come to Revelstoke

The Selkirk Medical Group were the first to announce that team members had been vaccinated

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

(Stock photo)
EDITORIAL: COVID-19 restrictions continue to affect us all

Canada has recorded more than 700,000 confirmed cases of pandemic

A couple living at the Summerland Waterfront Resort is trying to sell their unit because of strata changes which will require them to pay significantly higher strata fees or have their unit included in the resort’s rental pool (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Couple living at Summerland resort facing increases

Permanent residents of Summerland Waterfront Resort told fees will more than double

(Big White Ski Resort)
28 more cases of COVID-19 linked to Big White cluster

More than 200 cases have been identified since the cluster was announced

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Police are seeking further witnesses after an elderly woman who was struck by a vehicle in Salmon Arm succumbed to her injuries. (File Photo)
Salmon Arm pedestrian dies after being hit by truck along Highway 1

Collision took place on Jan. 15 in downtown Salmon Arm, police looking for witnesses

A cow moose wanders around the Silver Star Elementary School neighbourhood Tuesday, Jan. 19. (Contributed)
Moose chases two people near North Okanagan school

Conservation and dog control attending to the situation

The sale of the Kirschner Mountain Development for $22M marks the largest in Realtor history, in the Okanagan. (Contributed)
Kelowna mountain development sold for $22M

The sale of the 640-acre Kirschner Mountain development has made the history books

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Most Read