LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — A man charged with killing a two-year-old girl along with her father and a senior told police the little one was in heaven, but he didn’t know where God had put her body.
An Amber Alert had been issued for Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette when police spoke with Derek Saretzky in September 2015. They believed he was a suspect in her disappearance and in the slaying of Terry Blanchette, whose bloodied body was found in his home in Blairmore, Alta.
Saretzky, 24, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Hailey, her 27-year-old father, and 69-year-old Hanne Meketech, whose body was found in her mobile home in nearby Coleman, Alta., five days earlier.
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Some jurors covered their faces in horror Thursday as they heard a video confession that involved cannibalism and dismemberment in the deaths of the father and his little girl.
In the lengthy video interview with police, Saretzky initially denied that he knew the location of the little girl except that she was in heaven and that he didn’t “know where God put her body.”
Saretzky also described hearing the voice of the devil, who he said had taunted him into doing bad things for years.
RCMP Staff-Sgt. Mike McCauley urged Saretzky to help Hailey’s family so they wouldn’t be left wondering what happened to her.
“If you choose not to help us find her then people are going to say you’re a monster,” McCauley said.
“There’s a little girl who’s by herself; dead or alive, it doesn’t matter, she needs to come home.”
Eventually when asked if Hailey was alive or dead, he answered the question.
“She’s not alive,” he said.
“Where is she?” the officer asked.
“The devil made me turn her into ashes,” he said, sobbing.
Saretzky explained that he went to the Blanchette home, walked through an unlocked door and hit the victim with a crowbar before cutting his throat.
“I smashed him. He was laying in bed. He didn’t feel it,” Saretzky said.
He said he had planned to drink Blanchette’s blood but was unable to because “I didn’t drain enough.”
When asked why he killed Blanchette, Saretzky would only say the man had been a terrible father.
He told the officer he grabbed Hailey from her crib and took her to a campsite where he kept her in a van for two or three hours until he had the fire high enough in the firepit.
Saretzky said he choked her with a shoelace and dismembered her after she was dead.
“She cried a little bit and then I choked her,” he said.
“I ate a piece of her heart to try and make mine strong. I drank her blood. I drank most of it.”
When asked how he felt after doing that, he said “a little bit stronger.”
At that point, McCauley informed Saretzky he was going to be charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
Saretzky asked him how long he might be in jail and got a non-committal response.
“You think I’d have a chance if I pled insanity?” he asked.
Saretzky has also been charged with committing an indignity to the girl’s body.
The court has already been told that Saretzky eventually led officers to Hailey’s remains in a campground firepit.