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

UPDATE: Mudslides close Highway 1 between Hope and Chilliwack

Eastbound lane not expected to reopen until Saturday afternoon.

Liberal and NDP MLAs stand together in support of SOGI education

Bipartisan support for materials that teach about sexual orientation and gender identity

Chilliwack embezzler back in custody after no-show for Tuesday sentencing

Warrant issued for man convicted of stealing large sums of money from First Nation near Agassiz

UPDATE: High streamflow advisory issued for Chilliwack River

River levels rising fast at Vedder gauge

Education minister blasts Chilliwack school trustee on gender issues

Fleming calls Neufeld’s behaviour ‘shameful’ and ‘unacceptable’

VIDEO: Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival

This year’s event featured six stops, including viewing points and activity centres.

SFU creates fund in memory of Aiden Serr

A celebration of his life on Saturday, Nov. 25 at 1 p.m. at Maple Ridge Baptist Church.

An adopted cat is the best 10 pounds you’ll gain this season

BC SPCA encouraging families to add a forever feline friend during adoption event Nov. 24 to Dec. 3

Uber official says public needs to push for ridesharing in B.C.

Mike van Hemmen tells Kelowna Chamber of commerce ridesharing would be ‘win-win-win’

B.C. co-ops relieved with Ottawa’s housing strategy

Federal government to have a new co-operative housing funding model in place by 2020

B.C. NDP referendum plan sparks legislature battle

David Eby says public will decide on proportional referendum

Hammy has been freed of his threads, a purple antler remains

The iconic Prince Rupert buck with a piece of hammock attached to his antlers was caught by COs

Court adjourned again for man linked to Shuswap farm where human remains found

Curtis Sagmoen will appear back in court on Dec. 14

B.C. family advocating for drug decriminalization following death of son

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has noted the New Democrats would decriminalize personal possession of all drugs

Most Read