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

Victoria BC Transit driver taken to hospital after assault

Driver attempted to stop an altercation between two people on the bus

Art takes a personal tone during the 110th anniversary of the Victoria Sketch Club

The 47th annual art show is taking place until March 24

CRD’s 2019 financial plan includes 23 per cent increase for capital projects

Housing, health care and wastewater projects included in 2019 plan

How a scrawny kid from Oak Bay bulked into one of rugby sevens’ best

Doing it for Dylan, Oak Bay’s Connor Braid at the top of his game

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Permit rejected to bring two cheetahs to B.C.

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

Real-life tsunami threat in Port Alberni prompts evacuation updates

UBC study says some people didn’t recognize the emergency signal

Care providers call for B.C. seniors’ watchdog to step down

The association also asks the province to conduct an audit and review of the mandate of her office

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

Short list for new gnome home includes Parksville, Coombs

Five potential locations have been chosen by Howard’s owners who will decide Tuesday

B.C. man gets award for thwarting theft, sexual assault – all in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Most Read