January 12, 2017 1:52 pm
Updated: January 13, 2017 4:14 pm

Nathan O’Brien’s family hopes for justice ahead of Douglas Garland’s murder trial

WATCH ABOVE: Nearly two-and-a-half years after her little boy disappeared, a Calgary mother will face the man accused of his murder in court. Global’s Nancy Hixt recaps the disappearance of Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents Alvin and Kathy Liknes ahead of the murder trial of Douglas Garland.

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The victims’ family has issued a statement ahead of one of the most high-profile murder trials in Calgary’s history, set to begin Monday.

Douglas Garland is accused of killing a five-year-old Calgary boy and his grandparents.

“It has been two-and-a-half years since Nathan, Alvin and Kathy were taken from us,” reads the statement released by Calgary police on behalf of the families.

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“Our pain has not lessened during this time. The next five weeks of this trial will be very difficult for us. We can only hope that at the end of this grueling time we will find justice for Nathan, Alvin and Kathy.”

Garland, 56, will stand trial for three counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Nathan O’Brien and Alvin and Kathy Liknes. The jury trial is scheduled for five weeks and will begin with an opening statement to the jury by the prosecution.

“We are grateful for the overwhelming support we have received from people in Calgary and across the country,” said the family statement.

Nathan and his grandparents were last seen alive June 29, 2014.

Watch below: The case involving Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathy Liknes, returned to Calgary courts on Dec. 1, 2016. Global’s Nancy Hixt has the details.

Nathan was having a sleepover at his grandparents’ home following an estate sale at their house.

When his mother, Jennifer O’Brien, went to pick him up the next day, the trio had disappeared.

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

At the time, police said evidence suggested their disappearance might be suspicious. Investigators said there were signs a “violent incident” had taken place in the Liknes’ home.

The case shocked people across Canada and around the world. An Amber Alert was issued that lasted for two weeks.

Police released a photo of a truck seen near the Liknes home when they disappeared. Soon after, Garland became a person of interest.

Garland had several ties to Alvin and Kathy Liknes. Alvin’s son was married to Garland’s sister. Family members confirm Alvin and Garland had a falling out several years earlier over a business deal that ended badly.

Family said Garland previously worked for Alvin.

The accused also ran a chemical manufacturing company of his own.

Garland lived with his parents on an acreage northeast of Airdrie. That property was meticulously and repeatedly searched by police during the investigation.

Watch below:  A home where one of the most heinous crimes in Calgary’s history is alleged to have happened has now been demolished. Nancy Hixt reports in April 2016.

On July 14, 2014, two weeks after the trio disappeared, Garland was arrested and charged with three counts of murder.

The bodies of Nathan, Alvin and Kathy were never found.

READ MORE: Family of Nathan O’Brien launches children’s foundation with $1 million donation

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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