News / Calgary

Liknes family thanks Calgary for 'strength'; Triple-murder suspect makes first appearance

Allen Liknes thanked Calgarians Wednesday for their outpouring of support — as the man accused in the triple slaying of five-year-old Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents made his first court appearance.

Liknes, son of businessman Alvin Liknes, said the tributes and search efforts have helped his relatives get through what’s been an “incredibly sad” affair.

“The family has taken a lot of strength from it,” Liknes told a throng of media gathered outside the downtown courthouse.

Douglas Garland, 54, faces two first-degree murder charges and one second-degree charge in connection to the alleged abduction case that’s gripped Calgarians since the disappearance was first made public.

The case was adjourned until mid-August with the defence counsel asking for more time to dig into the disclosure of the police investigation.

Garland’s lawyer, Kim Ross, told reporters he’d wait to thoroughly review those files before deciding: “whether or not we’ll seek any kind of release.”

Lead Crown prosecutor Shane Parker said outside court he would be opposing for Garland.

The court proceedings come the day after Calgarians released green balloons as a symbol of hope, and others have formed search parties to continue looking for the missing trio.

Alvin Liknes, his wife Kathryn and grandson Nathan were last seen at the couple’s Parkhill-area home June 30.

Police have alleged a “violent crime” occurred inside the home and told reporters they found forensic evidence that suggests the trio didn’t leave on their own volition.

Garland was arrested near his parents’ acreage in Airdrie earlier this week, which has been the ongoing site of a massive search.

Allen Liknes was also asked about how his common-law wife (who is Garland's sister) was feeling.

“Not good, thanks guys,” he said, ending the interview.

Parker told reporters that investigators have seized evidence from locations outside of the primary search sites — the Parkhill home and the Garland family property — thanks to tips from the public.

“That’s really encouraging from a community standpoint,” he said.

The bodies of the Liknes couple and Nathan have not been recovered, according to investigators, although the alert ended with Garland’s arrest.

While police have maintained they’ve garnered enough evidence to lay the charges, family have held out hope the youngster will come home.

Asked whether it would be challenging to get a conviction without the bodies, Parker noted there are precedents.

“We’ve done it before and we’ll do it again,” he said, adding he’s “hopeful” that more evidence will emerge.

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