A convicted meth cook has been charged with murdering his sister’s boyfriend’s parents and their 5-year-old grandson.
Douglas Garland, who had previously been named as a person of interest in the disappearance of 5-year-old Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathy Liknes, has now been charged with two counts of first degree murder and one count of second degree murder, reports CBC. The first degree murder charge is related to the deaths of Alvin and Kathy, the second-degree charge is against 5-year-old Nathan. Police chief Rick Hanson called the murders of Alvin, 66, and Kathy, 53, as “planned and deliberate.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Cops Believe the Victims Are Dead But Have Not Found the Bodies
Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathy, have been missing since June 29. Nathan O’Brien’s mother, Jennifer, had left Nathan at his grandparents house for a sleepover on June 29. When Jennifer never heard from them the next day, she raised the alarm.
Alvin and Kathy Liknes had planned to move to Mexico for while before moving to the Edmonton area, and the week before their disappearance, they had held an estate sale at their home. Police investigated all of the attendees of the estate sale. The Calgary Herald reports that Nathan O’Brien was sleeping over so that he could spend some time with his grandparents before they moved away.
In early July, cops questioned Douglas Garland. He was later arrested on an identity theft charge but released on bail. He had been staying in a motel north of Calgary since then. On July 14, police in Calgary announced that the Amber Alert for Nathan O’Brien has been canceled, saying there is no hope of discovering him or his grandparents alive. The bodies have not been found. Garland was arrested at 1:30 a.m. on July 14 on his parents land. Cops had been searching for a Ford pickup truck seen near the Liknes’ neighborhood around the time they disappeared. The same pickup truck was found on Garland’s parents’ acreage.
Police Chief Rick Hanson told the media “We want to be able to find the bodies so that the family can have the final closure on this.” He thanked “covert assets” in the arrest of Garland. The chief then added that thanks to the evidence collected by more than 200 cops as well as “civilian analysts,” he is no doubt that five-year-old Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents dead.
2. There Was Evidence of a Bloody Struggle
2 counts of murder laid against Douglas Garland. He's back in custody. This is now a homocide investigation. pic.twitter.com/ycOhFm9l2s
— Rob Gibson (@robgibson07) July 14, 2014
There had been evidence that a violent crime had occurred at the Liknes home in Parkhill, Calgary, where the three were last seen. A police spokesman said on July 13 that they had ended their search for the three in that area. The National Post reports that a police source says somebody would have been in “medical distress” when they were removed from the home.
3. Police Are Searching Garland’s Parents’ Land
Cops have been searching an acreage in Airdrie, north of Calgary, that is owned by Douglas Garland’s parents. According to the National Post, police are also asking landowners in the area to be keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary on their land. Around 200 cops are involved in the search.
— Damien Wood (@SUNDamienWood) July 11, 2014
4. Garland Had Been in Business With Alvin Liknes
Latest artist's sketch of person of interest Douglas Garland. Courtesy Janice Fletcher. pic.twitter.com/GHNPLLr0oy
— Kevin Martin (@SUNKevinMartin) July 11, 2014
According to Canada.com, Garland’s sister is in a relationship with Alvin and Kathy’s son, Allen. The article goes on to say that Garland was in a business relationship with Alvin Liknes at one point. The National Post reports that the business venture ended badly. Police chief Rick Hanson has not called a soured business venture a “motive” for the murder but called it a “leading theory.”
The National Post reports that both Alvin Liknes and his wife had previously declared bankruptcy (Alvin in 1994, Kathryn in 2012). The last business that Liknes was involved with, Winter Petroleum Ltd, had shut down its offices the week before the family disappeared. Bruce Carson, a director at another of Liknes’ companies, Vecto Resource Services told the National Post:
He’s just a great guy to work with, whether things worked or didn’t work, he was giving his best efforts. I can’t picture anybody being angry enough to do what they’ve done. He’s a golfer and he was just ready to start to retire. He was the same age as me; he had a place down in Mexico and was going to spend six months up there, six months up here. They were just a very normal family. Everything about them was kind of average, really, as far as I know they sure weren’t wealthy. I don’t understand why this happened at all.
Alvin Liknes had been involved in several other businesses at a boardroom level. His wife, Kathryn, previously worked as a real estate agent up until 2012. The National Post reports that she had since worked in online marketing.
5. Garland Used to Make Meth
He has a criminal history that goes back to 1992 when Garland was arrested for making methamphetamine on his parents’ land in Airdrie, reports CBC. The area now being searched by police for the bodies of Alvin and Kathryn Liknes and Nathan O’Brien, is the same area where Garland was accused of making meth. He managed to avoid arrested for seven years after he assumed the identity of Matthew Hartley, a 14-year-old kid who was killed in a car accident in Alberta in 1980. Garland was found to be living in Vancouver, he was finally arrested in 1999 and sentenced to 39 months in 2000, according to the Calgary Herald.
A 1999 report on Garland’s arrest said that police found “chemicals, laboratory equipment and illegal drugs such as methamphetamines and LSD” in his rural shed. The article goes on to state that police called Garland a “genius”, the murder suspect studied science at the University of Alberta but left school slightly before the raid on his parents’ land.