July 14, 2014 7:11 pm

People urged to seek support after heartbreaking update in missing family case

A memorial in front of the Liknes' home.

Gary Bobrovitz/Global News

CALGARY- News that the disappearance of a Calgary family has turned into a murder investigation has prompted an outpouring of grief from Calgarians—even among those who didn’t know the family.

Five-year-old Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathryn Liknes, are presumed dead after vanishing from a Parkhill home on June 30. Murder charges are pending against one man in relation to their disappearance.

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“We all have loved ones in our families and we can empathize with how difficult it’s been this past two weeks. Now, having this news must be just heartbreaking for them, and so I think it’s just touched the whole city,” says Joan Roy, executive director of the Distress Centre.

READ MORE: Tributes pour in, as search for missing Calgary family turns to heartbreak 

Mental health experts say such a devastating end to the high-profile case can trigger emotions, especially in those who have experienced trauma before.

“It can be a huge trigger for folks that have had losses in the past…and for others that have been victimized in other ways it can also be a big trigger,” Roy says.

She recommends that anyone who needs support reach out to them.

“If you’re having problems eating, having troubles sleeping, maybe having nightmares or things like that or just having overwhelming feelings or just feelings of grief [call us].”

The Distress Centre hotline is open 24 hours a day, and can be reached at 403-266-HELP.

Liknes and O'Brien

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