Douglas Garland arrives to be charged with murder of Nathan O'Brien and grandparents

Douglas Garland, the man suspected in the murders of three Calgary family members who were last seen on June 29, arrived at the Calgary Police Service arrest processing unit Monday night to face multiple murder charges.

Charges are expected to be formally laid on Tuesday

Douglas Garland appears in court

7 years ago
The man accused of killing five-year-old Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents, Kathy and Alvin Liknes, made a brief court appearance in Calgary Thursday morning via closed-circuit TV. 1:58

Douglas Garland, the man suspected in the murders of three Calgary family members who vanished two weeks ago, has arrived at the Calgary Police Service arrest processing unit to face multiple murder charges.

He is expected to be formally charged later Tuesday. 

Garland, who was taken into police custody on Monday, is facing two first-degree murder charges in the deaths of Kathy and Alvin Liknes, and a charge of second-degree murder in the death of their five-year-old grandson, Nathan O’Brien.

Garland declined to answer any questions from reporters as police led him handcuffed from a van into the processing unit. 

Nathan O'Brien, centre, and his grandparents, Kathy and Alvin Liknes, have not been seen since June 29. Their disappearance is now a homicide investigation. (Calgary Police Service)

Earlier on Monday, Chief Rick Hanson indicated that police believe the three family members are dead even though their bodies have not been found.

"We are putting a very complex case before the courts," said Hanson, adding police are very confident with the evidence.

"There is no single piece of evidence that is what people would like to think is the smoking gun."

Garland, 54, was staying at a motel in Airdrie, just north of Calgary, after being released on bail on unrelated charges on Friday, when police arrested him Monday. 

It's been previously reported that Garland has several connections to the Liknes family.

His sister is in a common-law relationship with Alvin Liknes's son, and police believe Garland and Liknes were involved in a patent dispute and that there was "bad blood" between them because of business dealings that had gone sour. 

'Glimmer of hope' gone, police say

Hanson said that police are offering their condolences to the family.

Douglas Garland is escorted into a Calgary police station Monday night in connection with the disappearance of Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents, who disappeared more than two weeks ago. (CBC)

"There's always a glimmer of hope and unfortunately with the laying of the charges we've taken that away from the family," said Hanson. "They're devastated."

Despite the chief's comments, a family member says they won't believe the three were murdered until their bodies are found.

In an email to The Canadian Press, Teena Prevost, the sister-in-law of Kathy Liknes, said her family is still holding out hope they're alive.

Police said after multiple searches they have ended their investigation at the Parkhill home where the three Calgary family members were last seen.

The home belongs to Kathy and Alvin Liknes.

"There are still many questions left to be answered, however, due to charges before the courts, I can't release those details and the investigation continues," said Hanson.

Police did not comment on what may have motivated the killing.

Calgarians, Canadians grieve with family

News that police believe the three family members are dead touched off an outpouring of grief and support online, with Calgarians and Canadians across the country expressing heartbreak over the grim outcome.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi tweeted shortly after the police news conference, thanking Calgary Police Service members for their work and expressing support to family members of the victims.

Over the past two weeks, the mystery of the family's disappearance has connected Canadians, all hoping for a happy conclusion to the case.

While some say they had feared this would be the outcome, all said they had been hoping and praying for the three to be brought home safely.

As well, Prime Minister Stephen Harper tweeted that his family's thoughts and prayers are with the O'Briens and Likneses during this time.

Police said last week there was evidence a violent crime had occurred in the Liknes home and that blood found inside the house indicated whoever it belonged to would likely have been in medical distress.

The search for evidence will continue this week at the Spyhill landfill in Calgary, where investigators are still sifting through mounds of garbage.

Police will also continue to search an acreage in Airdrie that belongs to Garland's parents.

Rural property owners, including oil companies or businesses, are still being asked to search their properties for anything suspicious.

With files from The Canadian Press