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Updated: Mon, 14 Jul 2014 21:57:22 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

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



Nathan O'Brien, centre, and his grandparents, Kathy and Alvin Liknes, have not been seen since Nathan's mom left the Liknes' home the night of June 29. Calgary Police Service

Nathan O'Brien, centre, and his grandparents, Kathy and Alvin Liknes, have not been seen since Nathan's mom left the Liknes' home the night of June 29. Calgary Police Service

Douglas Garland is the man police will be charging with the murders of three Calgary family members, CBC News has learned.

Sources have confirmed that Garland, who was taken into police custody earlier today, will be facing two first-degree murder charges in the deaths of Kathy and Alvin Liknes and a second-degree murder charge in the death of their five-year-old grandson, Nathan O'Brien.

Police Chief Rick Hanson indicated that police believe the trio of family members are dead even though their bodies have not been found.

He said first-degree murder charges will be laid in the deaths of the grandparents, and a second-degree murder charge will be laid in the death of five-year-old Nathan.

"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."

Sources close to the investigation say Garland was taken into police custody in connection with the missing persons case this morning.

The 54-year-old was staying at a motel in Airdrie, just north of Calgary, after being released on bail on unrelated charges on Friday.

'Glimmer of hope' gone, police say

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

"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.

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.

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