Douglas Garland remains tight-lipped about triple murder investigation

Posted on 29/03/2019

CALGARY- The man charged in the triple murder of a Calgary family remains tight-lipped, much to the frustration of both police and the devastated family.

Five-year-old Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents Alvin and Kathryn Liknes haven’t been seen since June 30, when Nathan’s mother dropped him off at the Liknes’ Parkhill home for a sleepover.

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Douglas Garland, 54, has since been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder in connection with the case, though no bodies have been found.

“While it is unusual for homicide charges to be laid without the bodies, and there’s obviously a huge amount of information that comes from being able to obtain that additional evidence, what it tells me is that the evidence the police have already collected points to this particular conclusion,” says forensic psychologist Dr. Patrick Baillie. “The prosecution can only go ahead when the crown believes there’s reasonable possibility of conviction, so there must be sufficient evidence in front of them.”

Garland was arrested early Monday at the Airdrie property police have been searching for days in an alleged violation of his bail conditions which included a curfew from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.

READ MORE: Who is Calgary triple-murder suspect Douglas Garland?

Calgary Police search a landfill on Wednesday, July 9.

Dani Lantela/Global News

Police search a property north of Calgary.

Sarah Offin/Global News

Police search a property north of Calgary.

Sarah Offin/Global News

Police scour a rural home near Airdrie as they investigate the disappearance of five-year-old Nathan O’Brien, 66-year-old Alvin Cecil Liknes and 53-year-old Kathryn Fay Liknes.

Global News

On Sunday, July 6, 2014 officers could be seen focusing their efforts on a pond about 500 metres north of the home, and brought in the K9 Unit and a boat to search the body of water.

Global News

Police search a property north of Calgary.

Jenna Bridges/Global News

Calgary police investigators check out the home where five-year-old Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents Alvin and Kathryn Liknes disappeared, in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, July 2, 2014. Police in Calgary say they’ve made a last sweep of the home owned by a couple who have been missing along with their five-year-old grandson since last month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

“We know that Mr. Garland made the decision to go back there, and we can assume he was aware of the conditions he wasn’t supposed to be in that area. So he must have had a reason for wanting to get back there.”

Baillie adds that police likely used the nearly 24 hours between the time Garland was arrested and when charges were formally laid to try and pry information out of him.

“From what I know, investigators attempted to use that time to have a conversation with him, so there may have been some discussions at that time. But I would suggest it’s far too early in the process for any negotiations.

When asked what line of questioning police would likely have for Garland to bring them closer to finding the bodies of the missing family, Baillie says the conversation would be limited.

“There have been other cases where favours have been given to people that have been convicted, but in Mr. Garland’s position, to my understanding there’s been no confession, no admission of responsibility, so he’s not in a position where he wants to give police additional information.”

READ MORE: 4 questions in the Calgary family disappearance-turned-homicide case

Garland also refused to answer any questions from Global News as he was taken by police to have the charges read against him late Monday night.

Police Chief Rick Hanson says officers continue to work hard on the case.

“The days of a couple of gumshoes with fedoras walking around smoking cigarettes and getting a confession from somebody at the end of the day are long over. What it takes is investigative teams that use the assets of the organization and tips from citizens and witnesses and all kinds of pieces of information.”

READ MORE: How you can support the Liknes and O’Brien families

He adds they remain hopeful that the family will get the closure they’re so desperate for.

“We know the family won’t have closure and many people in the community won’t be satisfied and won’t have closure themselves until we find the bodies. So we will relentlessly pursue any leads that may allow us to find the bodies sometime down the road.”

Garland is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday morning.