Suspect in murder of Alberta father and daughter to make first court appearance

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LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — The suspect in the slaying of a father and his young daughter in a southern Alberta mountain community is to make his first court appearance this morning.

Derek James Saretzky faces two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Terry Blanchette, 27, and two-year-old Hailey. He is also charged with committing an indignity to a body in the girl’s death.

It’s not known if Saretzky, 22, will appear in person in a Lethbridge courtroom, about 140 kilometres east of Blairmore, the community where the father and daughter lived.

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Hailey’s body was found last week in a rural area near Blairmore, a day after her father was discovered dead in their home in town.

An Amber Alert that had been issued after the man’s body was found beamed the smiling toddler’s picture across Western Canada and into the northern United States.

Authorities undertook a extensive search with the hope of finding the youngster alive. News that she had been found dead came during a candlelight vigil that was meant to lend hope to the search effort.

Blanchette and the girl’s mother, 20-year-old Cheyenne Dunbar, were separated, but the two maintained a good relationship and both cared for Hailey.

Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

 

The Canadian Press

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