LETHBRIDGE, Alta. – The father of an Alberta man who was killed almost two years ago described in court Monday finding his son’s lifeless body and his two-year-old granddaughter missing.Derek Saretzky, 24, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 69-year-old Hanne Meketech, as well as in the deaths of Terry Blanchette and his two-year-old daughter Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette.William Blanchette told Saretzky’s trial he last saw his granddaughter alive Sept. 13, 2015 when they spent the day together in Blairmore, Alta., while his son was at work.He told court he returned to his son’s home the following day and knocked on the door, yelling “anybody home?” No one answered, even though Terry Blanchette’s car was parked outside.He said he assumed they had gone out for a walk and went to a gas station to fill up. He told court he sent his son a text message and tried phoning him, but there was no response.He went back to his son’s home and let himself inside through an unlocked door. After noticing blood on the kitchen floor, he said he went into the bathroom and turned on the light.“That’s when I found Terry,” he told court.He said his son was lying on the floor, partially covered in a blanket, with a huge cut on his neck. There was no sign of his granddaughter so he said he called 911.An Amber Alert was issued that extended across Western Canada and into the United States, but Hailey was found dead a few days later.Court has already heard that Saretzky confessed to police that he killed Terry Blanchette and Hailey, as well as Meketech — whose body was found five days earlier in her mobile home in September 2015.The Crown has said Saretzky had inside knowledge of the deaths and provided details to police that only the killer would know. The prosecution also said Saretzky took officers to a remote area where the girl’s remains were found in a campsite firepit, along with a hatchet and a metal pot.Saretzky has pleaded not guilty to the murder charges, as well as to a charge of committing an indignity to the girl’s body.No motive has yet been suggested in any of the deaths.Police have said Saretzky and Blanchette were acquaintances, but have not elaborated on how the two men knew each other. The little girl’s mother has described Saretzky as an old friend whom she hadn’t spoken to in years.Under cross-examination, William Blanchette told court his son and his ex-wife shared custody of Hailey, normally for two weeks at a time. At the time of their deaths, he said his son had Hailey for about five weeks while his ex-wife was moving.His son and ex-wife got along when it came to Hailey but otherwise “they had their issues,” he told court.The trial continues Tuesday.(Lethbridge Herald)
South Africa23.758.2 Japan98.389.3 Brazil96.089.7 Australia95.390.2 Cameroon24.957.7 Argentina14.732.9 Group avg.—65.1 ANorway66.879.7 Jamaica22.053.3 Germany95.292.6 ENew Zealand69.779.5 Group avg.—78.6 Group avg.—78.9 CItaly58.368.2 Group avg.—80.7 Chile22.343.8 United States99.896.4 Despite underperforming at the youth level, the U.S. still boasts the best senior-level women’s soccer team on the planet.2Both our SPI and FIFA put the Americans in the top spot. The Americans have won the most World Cups (three), and they’ve played in the past two finals, but they’ve never repeated as champions.3Only Germany has done so — it won the championship in 2003 and 2007. That could change this year, as they’ve been drawn into Group F with Sweden, Thailand and Chile. According to our SPI, it’s the second-easiest of the six groups. At 99.8 percent, the Americans have the highest chance of advancing to the Round of 16 of any of the 24 teams in the tournament.The Swedes are always strong at the World Cup — they’ve finished in third place twice and were runners-up in 2003 — but the same cannot be said for the other two teams: Thailand didn’t advance out of the group stage in its first World Cup appearance at Canada 2015, and Chile is making its first ever World Cup appearance. If U.S. stars like captain Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe bring their goal-scoring boots to France next summer, fledgling teams like Thailand and Chile will be in a world of trouble.The weakest group in terms of average SPI is Group D, which contains England, Japan, Scotland and Argentina. England and Japan are two of the best teams in the tournament,4According to both our SPI and FIFA’s rankings. but Scotland and Argentina5Unlike their male counterparts, the Argentina women’s team is without a Lionel Messi. are two of the weakest. SPI has them ranked as the third-worst and worst teams in the tournament, respectively.That said, Group D still promises to be interesting: England will get the chance to avenge its semifinal loss to Japan at Canada 2015, and Scotland will get the chance to spoil the plans of its neighbors to the south. If the feelings of the England squad reflect those of its star winger Karen Carney, they won’t be looking forward to playing their rivals.“I wouldn’t want them,” Carney told BBC Radio 5. “It’s good to have the rivalry, but you want to win the group. They’d have a lot of fans coming over, and the rivalry can be a leveler.”The Scots better hope that’s true — the last time they played England in a major tournament, they lost 6-0. But even if they do get shellacked again, Scottish women will be able to say something Scottish men haven’t been able to say for two decades: They played at the World Cup. England98.787.9 groupteamMAKE ROUND OF 16SPI Rating Group avg.—75.3 BSpain74.380.3 FThailand38.053.8 DScotland45.250.1 The hardest (and easiest) groups in the Women’s World CupEach team’s chance of advancing to the Round of 16 and each group’s average Soccer Power Index* rating Netherlands89.488.7 Canada91.289.5 France94.9%93.4 Nigeria37.767.7 China78.283.2 Sweden93.283.1 It was fitting that Didier Deschamps drew the first lottery ball for the 2019 Women’s World Cup, which placed France in Group A. He’s lifted the FIFA World Cup trophy for France on two occasions, as team captain in 1998 and as team manager of France’s men’s team in 2018. But what first felt poetic felt anything but by the time the rest of Group A had been fleshed out: He couldn’t have known it ahead of time, but Deschamps had doomed his beloved French to the dreaded group of death.Joining the French in Group A are Norway and South Korea — each ranked in the FIFA top 15 — and Nigeria, three-time defending champion of the Africa Women Cup of Nations. According to our Soccer Power Index (SPI), the French are the second best team in the world at the moment,1FIFA has them ranked third. ranked behind tournament favorites the United States.Host nations have never failed to advance to the knockout stages of the Women’s World Cup, and the French roster, led by creative midfielder Eugenie Le Sommer, will be full of class. The French will almost certainly make it out of the group stage and challenge for the hardware next summer. Our projections give them a 94.9 percent chance of advancing past the group stage, which is the second lowest number of any top team in a group. (Only Canada at 91.2 percent is lower.) Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg’s absence from the Norwegian team will make it less a threat to France’s chances of finishing at the top of the group — but playing in the group of death will ensure France’s path isn’t an easy one. * FiveThirtyEight’s measure of team strength on a scale of 0-100. Group avg.—69.3 South Korea72.181.9
(Updated 05/14/14) By the time Shanna Green was 15, she had lived in more than 25 group homes, seven foster homes, been confined by legal and state health facilities three times, and molested by three different men.Now, as she prepares to graduate from Morgan State University with a degree in sociology, Green wants to use her experience to improve the lives of foster children who, like her, were failed by the foster care system.Green entered that system at age two, taken from her drug-addicted parents and placed in a home where she would suffer her first molestation, she said, telling her story to the AFRO. Between the ages of five and eight, she said, Green lived with an aunt, serving as a de facto mother to her three siblings and was routinely molested by a cousin, a friend of an uncle, and her aunt’s boyfriend.Green said she bounced around between foster and group homes—and was confined by the state three times after five suicide attempts—until, at the age of 15, she ran away, spending the next three years keeping herself afloat through prostitution and drug dealing.“The whole time I was gone . . . nobody came to look for me,” said Green. “No one cared, like, ‘Is she okay?’ No missing person’s report. Nothing.”At 18, Green moved to Virginia where she became involved with her cousin’s gang, posing as a prostitute and robbing unsuspecting johns at gunpoint. The last attempted robbery ended prematurely when the mark was pulled over for a broken indicator light. Green spent three months in prison after pleading guilty to a concealed weapons charge.“When I was locked up I told God that I would go to church,” said Green of a promise that would change the course of her life.Having returned to Baltimore after her stint in prison, Green said, she was on her way to a bar to purchase a few drinks and some marijuana when she came across a sign for Victorious Ministries International on York Road and felt something tug her toward the fulfillment of the promise she had made while incarcerated.“I visited the church for that first time at 18, and I never left,” she said. “And while I was there I got associated with mentors and Pastor Lenora [Howze]. . . she was one of the people who were assigned to me as a mentor and from a mentor relationship I asked her—because I felt like she had a mother spirit — could she be my mother.”At age 22, Green had finally found a stable family relationship. But a new mother was not the only gift Victorious Ministries provided for Green.Edwin Johnson, another pastor at the church who also worked in the admissions office of Morgan State University (MSU), helped Green attain her GED and steered her toward admission to the university.At Morgan, however, the late Army Lt. Col. (Ret.) Joseph Bozeman, at that time the director of the school’s Enrollment Outreach and Veteran Services, voiced skepticsm, noting Green’s criminal record and her only having completed the seventh grade of formal education.Bozeman insisted on interviewing Green prior to sending out a letter of acceptance, and tasked her with providing five letters of recommendation, as well as a letter detailing how she would pay for Morgan. Green obtained all the necessary references and returned with Howze, by now her adopted mother, and another Victorious Ministries pastor, whose impassioned speeches on her behalf helped win Green a letter of acceptance.“My words to him were, ‘Mark this date down, because I’m telling you that Morgan State University, should they accept Shanna Green, will be proud to say that she’s a Morgan State University graduate,’” Howze, who is now the AFRO Advertising Director, told the AFRO.Howze’s words have proved prophetic. Morgan State officials have embraced the Green success story and is promoting it heavily in advance of the May 17 commencement exercises, a ceremony in which Green’s story will be featured.“Once she realized who she was and the potential that she had, that we helped to show her when she came to my church, she was unstoppable,” said Howze.Green, who said she could have easily ended up an unknown fatality or just another foster care statistic, credits her faith in God for her transformation, and is now preparing for graduation and for a wedding planned for next October, she said.While at Morgan, Green started Project D.R.E.A.M. Foster Care United to provide mentors and aid to Morgan students who emerge from the foster care system.Green raised funds to help provide books, school supplies, and groceries for those students, helping provide a financial bulwark for students with no reliable family to turn to for assistance.Green is most passionate about her work as a motivational speaker, using her story to impart on persons in similar situations the lesson that the difficulty of their current circumstances need not limit their future horizons.Green plans to turn Project D.R.E.A.M. into an IRS Sec. 501(c)3 nonprofit organization upon graduating. She said she would also like to see her story made into a book, or perhaps even a movie, noting that she only recounted about one percent of her journey to the AFRO. Green can be contacted for motivational speaking engagements by email, [email protected], or by phone at 443-608-1544.