The family of Alvin and Kathy Liknes continues to struggle with the death of the couple and their five-year-old grandson, according to a close family friend.

"The family is absolutely shattered," Cherri Hodgins said outside a Calgary courtroom Thursday.

Hodgins, who described herself as Kathy Liknes's closest friend, stressed that the family needs continued financial support from the community as the couple’s children have been unable to work since the trio went missing in late June.

"The family is in pieces," Hodgins said. "Nobody is working and nobody can get back to normalcy, whatever normalcy means to us at this point."

Douglas Garland has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the death of the couple, and one count of second-degree murder in the death of their grandson Nathan O'Brien.

Police have yet to locate the bodies, despite an exhaustive search which sent investigators to Mexico.

Garland, 54, briefly appeared via closed-circuit TV in a Calgary court on Thursday, when the case was adjourned until Sept. 17.

Nathan was at his grandparents' home for a sleepover on June 29. When his mother arrived to pick him up the following morning, all three family members were missing. Police said there were signs of a violent struggle inside the home.

A trust fund for the Liknes children and grandchildren has been set up at CIBC.