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

 

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

Just Posted

Van fire sends plume of black smoke into sky above Willowbrook

Vehicle a charred shell in fire that slowed Friday commute home

Police investigate apparent impaired-driving crash

Incident took place in Abbotsford on Thursday night

#MeToo at work: How reporting sexual harassment works – and how it doesn’t

British Columbians have four options to report harassment or assault, but none of them are easy

Langley Rotarians work for clinics in Kenya

Local Rotary Clubs are asking locals to think of others at Christmastime.

Langley realtor uses Monopoly tournament to add to refugee group’s community chest

A fundraising tournament could be the start of an annual tradition.

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Family Christmas fun at Aldergrove’s Loft Country farm

The Loft Country children’s horse camp in Aldergrove is celebrating Christmas in a new way this year

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

UPDATED: Train collides with car in Maple Ridge

Mother and child both uninjured, track cleared at 11 a.m.

Accused B.C. drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

One convicted, two cleared in 2014 deaths of men in B.C.’s Cariboo

Andrew Jongbloets convicted of manslaughter in deaths of Matthew Hennigar, 23 and Kalvin Andy, 22

VIDEO: Pedestrian struck by vehicle caught on security camera

Incident points to danger on the roads not only in low light but also in bright sunshine

Most Read