RCMP say Derek Saretzky, suspect in Alberta double murder, fit to stand trial

RCMP say the man accused of killing a two-year-old southwestern Alberta girl and her father has been found fit to stand trial.

LETHBRIDGE — RCMP say the man accused of killing a two-year-old southwestern Alberta girl and her father has been found fit to stand trial.

Derek Saretzky, 22, is charged with first-degree murder in the September deaths of Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette and her father Terry Blanchette.

He is also charged with committing indignity to a body in the girl’s case.

RCMP say the Alberta Crown informed police of the ruling on Wednesday.

Saretzky appeared via closed-circuit television from the Calgary Remand Centre in a Lethbridge courtroom on Thursday. He said little during the brief appearance.

Saretzky was initially sent for a 30-day review of his mental health, but last month a judge was told that doctors at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatric Centre in Calgary needed more time for their analysis.

Lawyer Wade Hlady, acting as agent for Edmonton lawyer Peter Northcott, said the fitness assessment had only been received Wednesday.

As a result, he requested the case be adjourned until Feb. 26 to give Northcott sufficient time to review what the Crown referred to as a “voluminous” amount of material.

“The Crown indicated that the initial disclosure package would be available some time in December and it is quite extensive.”

Hlady said he was unaware of any of the information contained in the assessment nor could be confirm reports that Saretzky had been hospitalized as a result of going on a hunger strike.

Saretzky was arrested in the Crowsnest Pass area after Terry Blanchette, 27, was found dead in his Blairmore home on Sept. 14, and a widespread Amber Alert was issued for two-year-old Hailey, who had been abducted earlier that morning.

Her remains were discovered in a rural area the next day.

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