Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette's family 'forever broken' after deaths of toddler and her father
Dunbar family asks that relationship rumours between accused Derek Saretzky and Hailey's mom be ignored
The grandmother of Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette says her family is "forever broken" after the toddler and her 27-year-old father, Terry Blanchette, were killed in Blairmore and a resident of the small Alberta community was charged with murder.
"As a mother and (formerly) grandmother my pain is unimaginable at the loss of my only grandchild in such a horrific manner," wrote Terry-Lynn Dunbar, mother of Hailey's mom Cheyenne Dunbar, on Facebook.
"The Dunbar and Blanchette Families will be forever broken," she said, adding that her "heart can't stop hurting" for Terry's parents, Faith and Bill Blanchette.
Derek Saretzky, 22, was charged Wednesday with two counts of first-degree murder, as well as one count of indignity to a body. He is in police custody and due to appear in court in Lethbridge on Sept. 23.
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The case came to the public's attention when an Amber Alert was issued for the girl, who was abducted in the middle of the night from the home where she lived with her father.
It is believed the abduction took place around 3:30 a.m. Monday, but the father's body wasn't found until about 11 a.m. that day. The toddler's body was discovered late Tuesday in a rural area near Blairmore.
RCMP say Saretzky and Blanchette knew each other, but did not provide details on their relationship. Neighbours have said the two men didn't get along.
The Dunbar family has been angered by speculation that Saretzky and their daughter — Hailey's mother, Cheyenne Dunbar — were romantically involved.
"I'm angry about some of the things that are being splashed across the media about my daughter," said Cheyenne's father, Kevin Dunbar, on Wednesday.
He said he moved his family from Blairmore to get away from bad influences.
"It's terrible. All the kids out here are into drugs, and they're all into just being bad kids, and it was having an effect on my kids, and we needed to move," he said.
For her part, Cheyenne Dunbar has said Saretzky was a "great kid" when she knew him, but says she hasn't spoken to him for three years and was never involved with him romantically.
Cheyenne Dunbar's mother also appealed to the public not to believe the rumours.
"I'm asking you all right now to see only the good … and please don't believe everything you read," Terry-Lynn Dunbar wrote on Facebook.
She said she was praying for the Dunbar and Blanchette families.
"Regardless of our differences we need to stand together as one to get through this," she said. "Please continue to pray for my little Hailey Bumm ... please don't forget her. We never will."
She shared a touching audio tribute to Hailey on her Facebook page with the comment, "Cheyenne... You need to hear this. Heart, mom."
The tribute was compiled by Jake Ryan, an Edmonton radio host, and features emotional comments from Cheyenne Dunbar that are set to the music of the song Heaven by Heart.
The deaths have shocked the community of Blairmore and gripped the country.
Police are asking for anyone with information that might help the investigation to call Crowsnest Pass RCMP at 403-562-2866.