LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — The RCMP’s team commander at two southern Alberta murder scenes says the father of a man accused in the deaths admitted his son had “done something bad,” saying “the devil is talking to him.”
Sgt. Stephen Browne explained Wednesday that Mounties were investigating the slaying of Hanne Meketech, 69, in Coleman, Alta., when they got word five days later of another killing in nearby Blairmore, Alta.
That’s when the body of Terry Blanchette, 27, was found at his home and an Amber Alert was issued for his missing two-year-old daughter, Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette.
Her body was found in a campground firepit a few days later.
Derek Saretzky, 24, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and committing an indignity to the girl’s body.
Browne said he knew as soon as he entered the Blanchette home that it was bad.
“It was obvious in my mind this was a homicide,” he told court. “I didn’t expect to walk into what I walked into.”
He realized there were similarities between the scenes in the two towns — both adult victims were attacked in a bedroom with blunt-force trauma and were stabbed.
However, Hailey’s grandfather told officers she was missing and after a search found blood on one of her toys, an Amber Alert was issued. It became the top priority for the Mounties, and Browne said they originally went to Saretzky’s apartment to look for the little girl.
They didn’t have a search warrant when Saretzky’s father, Larry, let them in, but Browne said the Amber Alert gave them grounds to enter.
They found blood smears, bloody cowboy boots, latex gloves and a tire iron. They also found a list with Meketech’s name on it.
After Larry Saretzky spoke to Browne, the officer pleaded with the son to let them know where Hailey was.
“Her spirit is floating around,” Derek Saretzky told Browne. “Her body was in his sperm cells.”
The killings took place in September 2015.
The trial continues Thursday.