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Updated: Thu, 03 Jul 2014 18:19:33 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Nathan O'Brien Amber Alert: No motive, no suspects, police say



Kathryn Liknes, from left, Nathan O'Brien and Alvin Liknes are missing, say police. Calgary Police Service

Kathryn Liknes, from left, Nathan O'Brien and Alvin Liknes are missing, say police. Calgary Police Service

Calgary police say they are moving forward with the investigation into the disappearance of a five-year-old boy and his grandparents but still have no motive or suspects they can name.

At a press conference Thursday, Sgt. Doug Andrus told reporters police are pleased with the direction the investigation is moving and that there has been a tremendous response from the public. However, he said there are still a lot of unanswered questions about what happened to Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents, Kathy and Alvin Liknes.

- Support website | Nathan, Kathy and Alvin

"We're keeping an open mind, looking at all possibilities, hoping we'll find them alive," said Andrus. "We have no suspects we can name, but we have information that's allowed us to move forward."

Nathan and his grandparents were discovered missing Monday morning by his mother, who arrived to pick him up from a sleepover at their house only to find the home empty.

An Amber Alert was issued at 5:15 p.m. MT and police said there are signs the three did not leave the house willingly.

The family had held an estate sale over the weekend in preparation for a move to Edmonton. Investigators say between 200 to 300 people may have passed through, and they're looking to eliminate as many sets of fingerprints as possible by talking to people who were at the estate sale. 

Andrus said investigators are also reviewing CCTV footage from the area and have expanded their neighbourhood inquiry zone to talk to more people.

They're also in touch with the Canadian Border Services Agency and partnering agencies in the U.S.

While many questions remain, Andrus said investigators believe they are moving in the right direction.

"I would say it's less a mystery to us," he said. "Are we closer than yesterday? I would say we are."

Someone knows something: police chief

Earlier Thursday, the chief of the Calgary Police Service said he is convinced someone knows something about the disappearance of Nathan and his grandparents, who have been missing for four days.

"We are now convinced there are people out there with information," said police Chief Rick Hanson.

He didn't explain what led investigators to that conclusion, but police are looking to speak with everyone who was at the family's estate sale.

Investigators will be at the Parkhill Community Centre at 4013 Stanley Rd. S.W. Thursday until 10 p.m. MT to speak with anyone who attended the sale.

Police ask that anyone who bought something from the sale bring a photo of it to the community centre so investigators can catalogue what was purchased and what remains in the home.

Website started to send messages to family

A website has been set up for people looking to offer messages of support to the family. Police said messages of support have been rolling in from across the country.

The blog has been created as a dedicated place for those messages, along with information on how people can submit tips to Crime Stoppers. 

Since the family of Nathan and his grandparents made a plea for their safe return, Calgary police said they have received numerous tips and that those are currently under investigation.

No idea of motive

However, four days after the three went missing there are still many unanswered questions and investigators say the longer it goes on, the more concerned they become.

"We don't know the motive behind this. Right now we have three individuals who have disappeared under suspicious circumstances," said Andrus.

"I can tell you, though, that the forensic crime scenes unit did examine some marks on the side of the house and we're in the process of determining their relevance to the investigation," he said."

"There were marks on the side of the house that went on for a distance."

As of Thursday afternoon, the Amber Alert remains active.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Calgary Police Service at 403-266-1234 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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