BLAIRMORE, Alta. – Mounties were searching Monday for a missing two-year-old girl after her father was found dead inside a home in southwestern Alberta.
Police said Terry Blanchette, 27, was killed in a suspected homicide Monday morning in a home in Blairmore, Alta., and his daughter, Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette has not been seen since.
Police said they found Blanchette’s body shortly before noon, but investigators believe the girl has been missing since 3:30 a.m.
Blairmore is about 220 kilometres southwest of Calgary in the Crowsnest Pass area near the B.C.-Alberta boundary.
Police issued an Amber Alert for the youngster Monday afternoon and quickly expanded it to British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Montana.
Tony Hamori, RCMP assistant district commander for southern Alberta, said both the death and the disappearance of the little girl is very troubling.
“This type of incident combined with the scene at the residence that we found is concerning to the highest degree both to the RCMP and to the communities in the Crowsnest Pass,” he told reporters.
“We’re just hopeful that this media release and the information we’ve gotten so far will be enough for the public to put as much energy into this as we are in terms of trying to locate this van or any other information that could be helpful to our investigation.”
Police have not identified any suspects in the abduction of the girl, but were looking for a newer model newer model white van with a large rear antenna and a flag flying from it.
“We’ve spoken to family members and we’re open to all possibilities,” Hamori said.
They said the van was spotted fleeing the scene at a high rate of speed heading west.
Hamori said police do not have a licence plate, make or model for the van, nor do they know what kind of antenna flag was on the van.
Extra police resources were being brought into the area, including tactical officers to secure the scene and the air unit to help with the search.
Hamori did say there is no safety risk to the public, but added if the van is spotted that people should call police and not engage with anyone in the vehicle.
Blanchette worked as a cook at Pure Country Bar and Grill in Frank, a nearby town in the Crowsnest Pass.
Monday was his day off, said manager Tammy Tracey.
“He was a good worker and a good father. He did anything for his daughter, he loved her dearly. He was a good dad. He lived for her.”
Tracey said Blanchette had worked at the bar for the last three years.
“He would never miss a day of work, he had to support a daughter. He was a good kid. He had responsibilities, right?”
She said he was a single parent.
“He shared custody and there wasn’t any problem with that either, not that we were aware of.”