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Family, friends gather to honour Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette, father

WATCH: It was an emotional Friday afternoon in the small town of Coleman, as friends and family paused to remember two-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette, and her father, Terry Blanchette. Sarolta Saskiw reports.

It was an emotional Friday afternoon in the small town of Coleman, as friends and family paused to remember two-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette, and her father, Terry Blanchette.

More than 300 people attended a memorial for the victims at Crowsnest Consolidated High School. Terry’s parents and Hailey’s mother, Cheyenne Dunbar, were among those in attendance.

Those close to the victims fought back tears as they heard tributes to their loved ones through song, poem and eulogies. At one point loud cries filled the large gymnasium, when a video slide show of both father and daughter was played.

Terry Blanchette, 27, was found dead in his Blairmore home on Sept. 14, and a widespread Amber Alert was issued for two-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette, who had been abducted earlier that morning.

Her remains were discovered in a rural area the next day.

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Memorial table in honour of Hailey and Terry.
Memorial table in honour of Hailey and Terry. Sarolta Saskiw / Global News

A table filled with photos of the victims, teddy bears, flowers and little children’s blankets were all set up as a tribute to both father and daughter.

READ MORE: $20,000 raised in 24 hours for funerals of Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette and Terry Blanchette

Eulogies were read for Hailey and Terry by members of the Dunbar and Blanchette families. Blanchette’s sister spoke of the moment he found out Cheyenne Dunbar was pregnant with Haley.

She said that was the day “he became a man and a proud father”.

Cheyenne’s mom, Terry Lynn, also spoke of how Haley was loved by everyone she touched and always “could get her way with her famous scrunched nose.”

TIMELINE: Abduction and murder of Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette and Terry Blanchette

Family friend George Rowe explained he could not even begin to put into words the pain both families are feeling right now.

“All those who donated, held charity drives, vigil services, offered condolences and moments of reverence for our little Haley and her dad Terry, we are truly touched by your incredible consideration,” he said.

A poem was also read by a close friend of the Dunbar family and the song ‘Angel’ by Sarah McLachlan was performed by two other family friends.

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The memorial ended with everyone releasing purple and white balloons in a final good bye to a loving father and his happy little girl.

Derek Saretzky, 22, is charged with first-degree murder, as well as with committing an indignity to the girl’s body. He is undergoing a 30-day psychiatric assessment and is to be back in court Oct. 29.

READ MORE: What we know about Derek Saretzky

With files from The Canadian Press