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

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.

COLEMAN — 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.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Justice Anne Molloy, from top left, John Rinaldi, Dr. Scott Woodside and accused Alek Minassian are shown during a murder trial conducted via Zoom videoconference in this courtroom sketch on December 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Verdict expected today in Toronto van attack trial

Alek Minassian admitted to planning and carrying out the attack on April 23, 2018

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, leaves her home in Vancouver to attend a court hearing, Monday, March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Trump comments on trade negotiations with China take centre stage in Meng case

Meng was arrested at Vancouver’s airport more than two years ago

Red Deer dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Commissioner Roger Goodell talks about the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award during the NFL Honors ceremony as part of Super Bowl 55 Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Annual NFL women’s forum enhancing career opportunities

When Sam Rapoport envisioned conducting virtually the NFL’s fifth annual Women’s Career… Continue reading

Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020), speaks during a news conference with Toshiro Muto, left, CEO of Tokyo 2020, after a council meeting in Tokyo on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (Kimimasa Mayama/Pool Photo via AP)
Fans from abroad unlikely for postponed Tokyo Olympics

Olympics scheduled to open on July 23

FILE - Singer Jhene Aiko poses for a portrait on Dec. 7, 2020, in Los Angeles. Aiko will host the 63rd GRAMMY Awards on March 14. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Jhene Aiko to host Grammy Award premiere ceremony

63rd annual Grammy ceremony set for March 14

Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault holds a press conference in Ottawa on November 3, 2020. The Heritage Department is committing $40 million to a “COVID-safe events fund” designed to encourage arts and cultural plans to move forward in the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Heritage minister unveils COVID-19 events fund for arts and cultural sector

Financial support tops out at $100,000 per eligible applicant

opinion
Opinion: Crisis in long-term care must include data-driven change

More than 19,000 people in Canada have died from COVID-19 – more… Continue reading

The Dawe family home in the Michener Hill subdivision in Red Deer. This house was designed and built by Robert G. Dawe, a local engineer, in 1911 and has remained in the family ever since. (Contributed photo)
Michael Dawe: 65 years of Red Deer history

As a major milestone birthday looms, I thought that it might be… Continue reading

Dallas Stars' Mark Pysyk (13) and Tampa Bay Lightning's Ondrej Palat (18) compete for control of a loose puck in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Dallas, Tuesday, March 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Vasilevskiy 3rd straight shutout as Lightning top Stars 2-0

Vasilevskiy 3rd straight shutout as Lightning top Stars 2-0

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) grabs a loose puck as Canadiens defenceman Ben Chiarot (8) and Ottawa Senators left wing Brady Tkachuk (7) battle for the rebound during first-period NHL hockey action Tuesday, March 2, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Hab down Sens 3-1 to snap 5-game winless streak; Ducharme earns 1st NHL coaching win

Hab down Sens 3-1 to snap 5-game winless streak; Ducharme earns 1st NHL coaching win

Most Read