Police expand investigation into missing boy, grandparents, to landfill

The Canadian Press
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Calgary police expanded their search for a missing boy and his grandparents to a garbage dump Wednesday, as the man they consider a person of interest in the case learned he could be released from custody as early as Friday.

An investigator wears a hazmat suit while police continue to search a property northeast of Airdrie, Alta., Wednesday.

Police spokeswoman Emma Poole said seven officers were going through the Spyhill Landfill, northwest of the city, looking for evidence in the disappearance of Nathan O’Brien, 5, and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathy Liknes.

She said the search is routine in such missing-persons cases and it’s expected officers will check other landfills in the area as well.

“They’re attempting to cast a wider net,” said Poole.

While the search was underway, Douglas Garland appeared in court on identity theft charges unrelated to the missing-persons case.

Police say 54-year-old Garland was questioned last weekend in relation to the disappearance and officers continue to search his parents’ rural property north of Calgary.

He appeared in court via video from the Calgary Remand Centre for what was supposed to be a bail hearing.

But the Crown and defence both agreed Garland could be released with a number of conditions. He first needs to provide a new address for where he would be staying, with the search ongoing at the farm where he had been living.

He is to return to court Friday.

At one point Garland, dressed in a blue jail jumpsuit, leaned in close to the court camera, explaining to the judge that he had bad eyesight.

His lawyer made it clear he is only representing Garland on the charge of identity theft.

“I can only comment today on what was before the court,” said Kim Ross.

Nathan and his grandparents were last seen June 29, following an estate sale at the couple’s home. Police believe a violent incident took place in the home, but have maintained they still hope to find the three alive.

Court records show Garland has a criminal past and mental-health problems. In 2000, he was sentenced to 39 months in prison for making amphe­tamines at his parents’ farm. When the Parole Board of Canada later gave him accelerated release after six months, it noted in its decision that Garland’s prior criminal record consisted of various property offences over the course of 20 years. His mental health played a role in the crimes, the board said, but a psychologist determined Garland had “little violence potential to others.”

Organizations: Calgary Remand Centre, Parole Board of Canada

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