Man charged in death of father and daughter facing new murder charge

Derek Saretzky, charged with murder of Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette & Terry Blanchette in Coleman, now charged with murder of Hanna Meketech

  • Apr. 20, 2016 8:00 a.m.

Bill Graveland CANADIAN PRESS

COLEMAN, Alta. – A southern Alberta man accused of killing a two-year-old girl and her father last September is facing a new charge of first-degree murder.

RCMP say Derek Saretzky is accused in the death of Hanna Meketech, whose body was found in her Coleman, Alta., home on Sept. 9, 2015.

The death of the 69-year-old woman occurred five days before the body of Terry Blanchette was found in his home in nearby Blairmore. His daughter, Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette, was reported missing and police issued an Amber Alert.

The child’s body was found in a rural area two days later.

“As our investigation into the deaths of Terry Blanchette and Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette was underway, evidence surfaced which led police to consider Mr. Saretzky a suspect in this case,” said RCMP Insp. Derek Williams at a news conference in Airdrie, Alta., on Wednesday.

“This investigation was intensive and utilized the skills and expertise of several specialized sections.”

Williams said Saretzky was not initially a suspect in Meketech’s death. He said the two did know each other but that’s not unusual for a small community.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 20 for Saretzky in the Blanchette and Dunbar-Blanchette cases. He faces two counts of first-degree murder and one of committing an indignity to the little girl’s body.

Williams, the officer in charge of senior crime in southern Alberta, said he is limited on how much information he can give because of the hearing.

“Given that Mr. Saretzky has been charged in relation to the death of Hanna Meketech, our first priority is to protect the integrity of our investigation to date and to ensure that he receives a fair trial.”

Williams said Meketech’s family, as well as relatives of the other two victims, has been informed about the new charge.

“In regards to the family, they were quite happy that we’ve been able to resolve this investigation with a charge of first-degree murder.

“The fact that these deaths occurred in small-town settings where everybody knows their neighbours compounds the shock and makes the situation all the more challenging for those who live there.”

In a message on Facebook, Coleman resident Kevin Turner shared his view.

“Today the news is sad. I knew Hanna, and often chatted with her about her beloved animals, while she tried to teach me Danish words. I hope as the process unfolds, our valley can find some peace.”

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read