Derek Saretzky out of medically-induced coma after suicide attempt: source

CALGARY – The man accused in a horrific murder of a two-year-old girl and her father in Blairmore, Alta. last week had come out of a medically-induced coma and was speaking as of Friday afternoon, a source told Global News.

Derek James Saretzky, 22, had been rushed to hospital in medical distress on Wednesday, and remained in a medically-induced coma Thursday.

Saretzky faces two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Terry Blanchette, 27, and his two-year-old daughter, Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette.

On Thursday, Alberta Justice confirmed an incident occurred on Wednesday involving an inmate in Lethbridge.

“The inmate from the Lethbridge Correctional Centre who was taken to hospital in medical distress yesterday continues to receive care in hospital,” said spokesperson Michelle Davio, in an emailed statement to Global News.

Officials won’t confirm the name of the inmate or their current condition citing privacy reasons, however, sources told Global News Saretzky is in a Lethbridge hospital after a suicide attempt. Officials said when an incident such as this occurs, a thorough review is conducted and action is taken to prevent it from happening again, which could include changes to policies and procedures or enhanced training.

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Saretzky’s lawyer, Peter Northcott, declined to comment on Wednesday.

Watch below: The prime suspect in the murder of Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette and Terry Blanchette is in critical care in hospital. Paul Haysom reports.

Global News has learned Saretzky was by himself in the shower when he attempted suicide. He was found in medical distress by guards, and transported to Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge for medical treatment.

The families of Terry and Hailey provided a statement to the Saretzky family Wednesday, writing they don’t condone the “vile and malicious epithets” being directed at the family.

“We find it abhorrent. It’s important that you know we bear you no ill will. And, we pray that you too find the path away from this tragedy toward peace and understanding.”

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The Blairmore, Alta. man was taken into custody last Tuesday afternoon and charged Wednesday with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of committing indignity to a human body.

READ MORE: What we know about Derek Saretzky

His arrest followed the discovery of 27-year-old Blanchette’s body in a Blairmore home Monday morning, and the abduction of Hailey. The young girl’s remains were found last Tuesday.

READ MORE: Timeline of the abduction and murder of Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette and Terry Blanchette

Police have said Saretzky was an “acquaintance” of Blanchette, but refused to elaborate on the nature of the relationship.

Hailey’s mother, Cheyenne Dunbar, said she and Saretzky were friends, but haven’t been in touch for years.

“We were just close friends and I haven’t talked to him in three years. I haven’t talked to him at all. … When I knew him, he was a great kid.”

READ MORE: ‘She was my baby’ – Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette’s mother Cheyenne breaks down 

Watch below: Global’s ongoing coverage in the case of Derek Saretzky

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With files from Global’s Nancy Hixt and Kim Tams

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