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An expert forensic dentist said he believed a tooth found in the ashes at the Garland farm was a “baby tooth.”
Dr. William Blair testified on the 13th day of the triple-murder trial of Douglas Garland.
Garland, 57, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of five-year-old Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathy Liknes. The trio was last seen June 29, 2014 after an estate sale in their southwest Calgary home.
Just days later, police began to consult with Blair.
He told court police gave him two vials of tooth structures to examine, along with dental records of Alvin and Kathy Liknes.
He said he believed one tooth was consistent with records from Alvin.
Blair was also asked to examine items seized from the ashes at the Garland farm.
“I received several packets of incinerated material,” Blair said.
He testified he X-rayed the packets and found four possible tooth samples. He testified about one tooth in particular.
“In my opinion, that is a baby tooth from the lower jaw,” Blair said.
Blair said while it was impossible to say if the molar was from the left or right side, he was able to narrow down the age based on size and features.
“It would be erupted into the mouth by 30 months (2.5 years) and both of them would be lost at 10 to 12 years,” he said. Eruption is when a tooth becomes visible in the mouth.
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Court was also shown images taken from surveillance videos June 30, 2014 near the Liknes home and two nearby businesses.
Forensic video analyst Kathryn McCaw said Thursday she was asked to compare the CCTV images with a re-enactment done by police with the Garland truck in the same areas.
At 5:15 a.m. on June 30, photos showed something white in the truck box.
At 7:37 a.m., the truck is caught on tape in the same area, driving in the opposite direction. McCaw said at that time it had “no contents visible in back of the truck.”
McCaw also noted numerous similarities between the truck on CCTV and the Garland truck, including same make, model, and colour. She also pointed out rust on both trucks in the same areas.
Watch below: Global’s ongoing coverage of Douglas Garland’s murder trial
On Wednesday, Alberta’s Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Elizabeth Brooks-Lim testified. She said based on her observations, it’s possible Nathan and his grandparents could have survived an attack in the Liknes home.
She said after looking at all the evidence, she concluded, “it is entirely possible the three missing individuals may have sustained non-fatal or fatal injuries at the home.”
Brooks-Lim said she consulted with another forensic anthropologist who examined the charred bone fragments under a microscope.
“She determined the majority of the bone fragments she had examined were animal, but there were fragments within there that she felt could be human.
“There were, I believe, at least one or two fragments she felt could have been from a child under five.”