CALGARY – Derek Saretzky, the man accused of killing two-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette and her father Terry Blanchette, has been charged with the death of a southern Alberta woman last year.
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Hanne Meketech, 69, was found dead in her home in the community of Coleman on Sept. 9, 2015.
Just days later, Terry Blanchette, 27, was found dead inside his home in nearby Blairmore on Sept. 14, 2015.
Blanchette’s two-year-old daughter Hailey was missing from the home, prompting an Amber Alert. RCMP found Hailey’s remains in a rural area the next day.
Blairmore and Coleman are located approximately six kilometres apart.
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An autopsy confirmed Meketech’s death was a homicide, but her cause of death was never released.
Global News later confirmed that Meketech lived next door to Saretzky’s grandparents.
At the time, RCMP said they had no information to suggest the two cases were connected.
On Wednesday, however, RCMP confirmed Saretzky had been charged with the first-degree murder of Meketech.
“The fact that these deaths occurred in small town settings where everyone knows their neighbours compounds the shock and makes the situation all the more challenging for those that live there,” Inspector Derek Williams said at a morning news conference. “The RCMP is committed to serving those communities and working with them to restore the sense of personal safety and security they enjoyed before these troubling events.”
“The motivation is difficult to say,” Williams added. “Through our investigation we were able to determine that the two were known to each other.”
WATCH: The new murder charge against Derek Saretzky is bringing mixed reaction from the people living in the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass. Global’s Tracy Nagai speaks with a neighbour who shared a chilling detail from the night Meketech died.
Blairmore deputy mayor Shar Cartwright said in a Wednesday statement the charge was “bittersweet news” for the community, and expressed condolences to Meketech’s family and friends.
“The RCMP have worked non-stop in putting the pieces together and our community is very grateful for their diligence,” Cartwright said.
“This is one more step in bringing closure and justice to the tragic events that occurred here in September last year.”
Meketech’s home was empty Wednesday, with a “for sale” sign sitting out front. After her death, neighbours fundraised to pay for her funeral. She’s been described as a woman who liked animals and children.
The date of Saretzky’s next court appearance has yet to be determined.
Hanne Meketech, a resident of Coleman, was found deceased inside her home on the morning of Wednesday, September 9 , 2015.
Global News / RCMP handout
With a file from Global’s Tracy Nagai