CALGARY- As people across the country continue to mourn the deaths of a Calgary family that disappeared last month, the grief is unimaginable for those who knew the family personally.
Five-year-old Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathryn Liknes are presumed dead after vanishing from the Liknes’ Parkhill home. Douglas Garland, 54, now faces murder charges in connection with their disappearance.
“He was a precious little boy,” remembers Greg Head, whose son was best friends with Nathan. “One of the memories I have of this [Cougar Ridge] park is every day after school either Rod or Jen—one of the parents—would take the kids over here and play. Maybe two or three weeks ago, my daughter was walking back with Nathan and he looks at her and says ‘Carolyn, you look beautiful today.’
“To me that just sums up Nathan.”
He adds it has been hard learning that the missing persons investigation has turned into a murder case.
“There’s always hope. What’s so difficult is you look at how it started. Three people vanished, then signs of violence and piecing that all together…it’s torture.”
Friends are now rallying behind the devastated family, who have lost so much.
“The [Liknes] house needs to be packed up, nobody in the family wants to go back to the premises,” Head explains. “The estate planning, accounting resources, and Alvin had a lot of business dealings.”
A fundraising site has been set up to help the O’Briens with costs such as funeral expenses, so they don’t need to be burdened by financial concerns.