LETHBRIDGE — A man accused of murdering a child and her father told police during a re-enactment of the girl’s killing that he had said a “little prayer” for her.
Jurors at Derek Saretzky’s trial were shown a police video Friday in which Saretzky took investigators to the spot where he told them he choked the girl with a shoelace before dismembering her and throwing her body in a campground firepit.
Saretzky, 24, is charged with first-degree murder in the September 2015 deaths of two-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette and her father Terry Blanchette, who was 27, in the southern Alberta town of Blairmore.
He is also accused of killing 69-year-old Hanne Meketech, who was found dead five days earlier in her mobile home in nearby Coleman, Alta.
The video shows Saretzky sitting in the back of a police cruiser next to an officer and giving directions on how to get to the remote campground. It is partially owned by a member of his family, but he said he had never been there before.
A number of police vehicles were already there. An person had called police after spotting what he believed were human bones in the firepit.
“I choked her there,” Saretzky said on the video, pointing to a spot near the firepit.
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“And then I bled her and drank the blood, most of it. When she started bleeding, she had already passed away then.”
Saretzky said he poured the blood into a plastic bottle, which he threw into the fire along with his clothes and Hailey’s body.
A discarded yellow child’s toy can be seen on the video a couple of metres from the firepit. DNA evidence identified blood on it that was matched to Hailey.
Saretzky repeated that he ate a portion of Hailey’s heart.
“Half of it probably. Maybe a little bit more. I thought it would be healthy for me.”
Staff Sgt. Mike McCauley asked Saretzky if he had said a prayer for the little girl.
“I did a little prayer. God rest your soul … something along those lines.”
There was a brief adjournment in court when one of the jurors started sobbing and needed a break.
Saretzky has pleaded not guilty to the murders, although court has already heard that he confessed to police.
Before the noon break, McCauley was asked if he had worked on the Meketech case as well. He said he hadn’t initially, but there were a number of similarities between the deaths of Blanchette and Meketech, which led him to believe Saretzky might be a suspect in both cases.
Six months after Saretzky confessed to killing Blanchette and his daughter, McCauley interviewed him again at the Calgary Remand Centre.
In a video played for the jury, Saretzky told him he had also killed Meketech, who was a friend of his grandparents. He called it a “spur of the moment” decision.