July 16, 2014 1:05 pm

Missing Calgary family: Who were Nathan O’Brien, Alvin and Kathryn Liknes?

Five-year-old Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents Kathryn and Alvin Liknes were last seen June 29, 2014.

Handout

TORONTO - Hundreds of green balloons filled the sky in southern Alberta in memory of a five-year-old boy who disappeared with his grandparents more than two weeks ago.

In Calgary, the parents and brother of Nathan O’Brien wept and held each other as friends and family gathered in the park across the street from their home.

READ MORE: Balloons fill sky in tribute to family at centre of triple murder case

There has been no sign of the boy or Alvin and Kathryn Liknes since June 29, but police say there is sufficient evidence to conclude they have been killed.

VIDEO: Green balloons released in Calgary


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Douglas Garland—who made a brief court appearance Wednesday—has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one of second-degree murder.

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

In an email to The Canadian Press, Teena Prevost, a sister-in-law of Kathryn Liknes, said her family is praying police are wrong.

“Until the police can show us the bodies of our loved ones we will not believe they are deceased,” she wrote. “Praying we will find them alive.”

Teena is married to Randy Prevost, the brother of Kathryn Liknes, and wants people to know that family is suffering as well.

“Her siblings seem to be all forgotten in all this mess,” she said. “Kathy was an amazing sister and sister-in-law.”

The Liknes’ were planning to move to a new home in Edmonton and then to Mexico.

Alvin, 66, was described as six feet tall with a distinctive walk. He was involved in several oil and gas companies, including Winter Petroleum Ltd., which media reports say was forced to close a few weeks ago.

Flowers and teddy bears are shown at an impromptu memorial for Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathryn Liknes, at the Liknes home in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, July 15, 2014.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

According to the National Post, a registered director at Vecto Resource Services Ltd., along with Alvin, said the grandfather was “a great guy to work with.”

READ MORE: Expert outlines next steps in investigation of missing Calgary family

“…Whether things worked or didn’t work, he was giving his best efforts,” said Bruce Carson. “I can’t picture anybody being angry enough to do what they’ve done.”

“He’s a golfer and he was just ready to start to retire. He was the same age as me; he had a place down in Mexico and was going to spend six months up there, six months up here. They were just a very normal family. Everything about them was kind of average, really, as far as I know they sure weren’t wealthy. I don’t understand why this happened at all.”

Kathryn Liknes, 53, was reportedly a licensed real estate agent in Calgary but had not been a practicing real estate agent for two years, according to the Real Estate Council of Alberta.  A Facebook page describes Kathryn as a website marketing and SEO specialist.

A boy who loved superheroes

Five-year-old Nathan was the middle child of three boys.

Days after his disappearance, Nathan’s mother Jennifer O’Brien said that her son loved to dress up so much as a superhero that she did not have to buy him clothes – just costumes.

Nathan O’Brien and his grandmother Kathy Liknes are shown in a Calgary Police Service handout photo.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Calgary Police Service

“Nathan, I need you to hear my voice right now and I need you to know that mommy and daddy love you more than anything in this world,” said O’Brien at a news conference July 2. “Stay strong, Nathan. We know you are our superhero and I just need you to stay strong and we are going to see you.”

The young boy was described by his mother as a chatterbox and “friendly, smart, and the glue which held the sprawling family together.”

- With files from Tamara Elliott ,  Melissa Ramsay and the Canadian Press

© Shaw Media, 2014

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