July 7, 2014 3:54 pm
Updated: July 11, 2014 12:34 pm

‘Person of interest’ with links to missing Calgary family appears in court


CALGARY- A man considered to be a “person of interest” in the investigation into a missing Calgary family made an appearance in court Monday on unrelated charges.

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Douglas Garland, 54, was taken into police custody over the weekend. Calgary police, RCMP, and the Calgary Fire Department are continuing a grid search of a property north of Calgary. Neighbours say Garland lives on the acreage being searched and also has links to the family of Nathan O’Brien and Kathryn and Alvin Liknes who disappeared one week ago.

Timeline: Missing Calgary family Nathan O’Brien, Alvin and Kathryn Liknes

Global News has learned that Alvin Liknes’ son is married to Garland’s sister. A family member says Liknes and Garland also had a falling out several years ago, after a business deal ended badly.

Police called him a “person of interest” in the case and took him in for questioning, but he was later released in connection to the case but held on an unrelated charge of identity theft.

During his brief appearance via CCTV, Garland told court he wished to speak to duty counsel. The matter has been put over to Wednesday.

Rod O’Brien, the father of missing five-year-old Nathan O’Brien, was in court for Garland’s appearance, but declined to comment.

Federal court records indicate Douglas Garland has a criminal history in B.C. In a 2005 judgment, Justice Miller says that Garland was charged for producing his own amphetamines in 1992, but moved away from Alberta to Vancouver, assuming the name of a dead person, Matthew Kemper Hartley. He applied for a social insurance number and driver’s license with the alias.

Garland worked at Can Test Ltd. and the British Columbia Institute of Technology, until he was arrested in 1999. He pleaded guilty to all his drug offences and the charges in connection with his assumed identity, and served time in prison.

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