BLAIRMORE, Alberta (AP) — Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigating the abduction of a two-year-old girl said late Tuesday that they have found human remains.
Victims services officials made the announcement to a horrified crowd that had gathered in Blairmore, in southwestern Alberta, at a candlelight vigil for Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette.
Relatives, friends and strangers who had shown up to lend support in the search for the girl were overcome with grief, breaking down in tears as officials announced the Amber Alert had been canceled. The alert had been extended to British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Montana.
Hailey was abducted early Monday morning from the town of Blairmore by someone driving a speeding white van.
Her father, Terry Blanchette, 27, was found dead in their home and police believe his death was a homicide.
Police have a 22-year-old suspect in custody. Supt. Tony Hamori said the name of the man, a resident of Blairmore who was arrested there on Tuesday, would not be released until charges had been filed.
Terry Blanchette was described by friends and family as a devoted single father who shared custody of Hailey with his former girlfriend, Cheyenne Dunbar, who lives in Edmonton.
Hamori said Dunbar was co-operating with investigators.
Blanchette worked as a cook in a restaurant and had many criminal convictions between 2010 and 2012 for issues such as failing to appear in court, failing to stop his vehicle, evading police, minor theft and assault.
But after Hailey was born, there were no more court appearances. Blanchette's Facebook posts switched from talk of court dates to pictures of him with his baby daughter.
"He was taking good care of her. There was always laughing and giggling going on over there," said a neighbor Angela Mathieson.
Blairmore is 137 miles (220 kilometers) southwest of Calgary near the boundary between Alberta and British Columbia.