Police continue search of acreage north of Airdrie for three missing Calgarians
| Posted: Monday, Jul 07, 2014 11:53 am
Officers from the Calgary Police Service (CPS) and RCMP remain on the scene of a massive search of a rural property northeast of Airdrie for a third consecutive day.
The search is part of the investigation into the disappearance of five-year-old Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents Alvin Liknes, 66, and Kathy Liknes, 53, from their home in the southwest Calgary community of Parkhill. An AMBER alert was issued June 30 when Nathan's mother went to pick him up from his grandparents' home and reported them missing.
Police first began the search of the property on Range Road 291, approximately two kms north of Highway 567 on the evening of July 4, after receiving a tip about a Ford F150 truck they were looking for in connection with the disappearance of the three family members. A truck matching the description of one seen on CCTV footage taken near the family's home on the night they disappeared was found and removed from the property.
A man called a 'person of interest' by police was taken in for questioning, July 5. He has subsequently been identified as Douglas Garland, 54, son of the elderly couple who own the acreage. Garland was released on July 6, but was in Calgary Provincial Court this morning to answer to an unrelated charge of identity theft. Garland has a criminal record including a conviction for drug trafficking.
Dozens of police officers were seen doing a shoulder-to-shoulder search of a field on the property on both July 5, and July 6. A search of a field near a slough 500 m north of the property was conducted on July 5 with the assistance of the K-9 unit.
Corissa Boychuk, world champion trampoline athlete and twin sister of Zach Boychuk who plays with the Carolina Hurricanes, lives near the acreage. Boychuk said she first saw police vehicles on Range Road 291 around 11:30 p.m. on Friday evening. According to Boychuk, neighbours said they also heard the HAWCS police helicopter overhead that evening.
Boychuk, who's lived in the are for 11 years, initially thought the police had pulled someone over for a routine traffic stop and said she was surprised her rural community was the scene of a serious missing persons investigation.
"It scared me a little because it's so close to home. It's very unusual to see police in this area, let alone in these numbers."
In a statement released July 6, police said they would continue the search of the large property and have not yet determined if or how the truck they seized, Garland, or the property are linked to the investigation.
The AMBER Alert remains in effect.