Crown 'confident' in missing Calgary family case, despite lack of bodies
The Crown says it's confident in its case against Douglas Garland, the suspect charged with the murders of a missing Calgary boy and his grandparents, despite police having yet to locate the victims' bodies.
"We've done it before and we'll do it again," Crown prosecutor Shane Parker told reporters outside a Calgary courthouse on Wednesday. "It's obviously a little more challenging because bodies provide a whole lot of evidence for the jury, they provide a whole lot of evidence from a forensic standpoint for the police.
"Without that, we're missing a few bullets," he continued.
Parker said even though Garland has been charged, the investigation into the murders will continue.
"I'm familiar with the evidence and confident that we can make out the elements of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt," he said.
Garland made a brief court appearance in a Calgary court on Wednesday via closed-circuit TV.
The court hearing was adjourned until Aug. 14 to allow time for the Crown and police to prepare disclosure for the defence.
Garland's lawyer Kim Ross said he "very briefly" spoke to his client on Wednesday.
Ross said he couldn’t comment on the case until he is presented with disclosure of evidence.
Garland faces two counts of first-degree murder and one charge of second-degree murder in the deaths of Alvin and Kathy Liknes and their five-year-old grandson Nathan O'Brien.
The bodies of the victims have not been found, but Calgary's police chief says investigators have evidence they are dead.
Garland’s sister, Patti Garland, was in a relationship with Alvin Liknes’s son, but police have not commented on a potential motive.
That son, Allen Liknes, spoke to reporters outside the courthouse on Wednesday, saying his family has "taken strength" from the outpouring of support from the community.
"It helps. It's incredibly sad, but it helps," Likens said.
Asked how Patti Garland, his common-law partner, was doing, Liknes said: "Not good."
Meanwhile, friends and neighbours of the O’Brien and Liknes families have started an online fundraiser to help pay for funeral costs, and matters related to the Liknes family home, such as moving costs and estate fees.
“The house has to be moved out by the end of the month, and moved into storage, and obviously, no family member wants to go back to that premise,” said O’Brien family friend Greg Head, who started the fundraiser in support of the families.
An emotional Head told CTV News that his six-year-old daughter, who was friends with Nathan, doesn’t understand what happened to him.
“She’s asking these questions, ‘Can Nathan play hockey in heaven. Does he have a house in heaven’ and ‘Can he wear his superhero costumes in heaven.’”
With files from CTV News’ Katie Simpson