Kelley MacAuley observes a memorial after placing flowers at an impromptu memorial for Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents

Garland charged with murders

Douglas Robert Garland’s appearance is unassuming — a balding, 54-year-old man with glasses and an average build, someone most people would pass on the street without a second look.

CALGARY — Douglas Robert Garland’s appearance is unassuming — a balding, 54-year-old man with glasses and an average build, someone most people would pass on the street without a second look.

But for more than a week, he has been at the centre of a Calgary police probe into the mysterious disappearance of Alvin and Kathryn Liknes and their grandson, five-year-old Nathan O’Brien.

Late Monday, he was charged with their murders.

Police have said Garland is connected to the Liknes family — his sister is in a relationship with a relative.

There have also been reports that Garland and Alvin Liknes had a business relationship. The CBC has quoted unnamed sources saying those dealings turned sour after a dispute over a patent for a gas device.

What else is known about Garland has come from court records and parole documents.

They reveal an intelligent person, but someone who struggled with mental problems that led, at least in part, to a rather lengthy criminal record.

His convictions, however, were for non-violent offences. He had faced weapons and assault charges in 1980s and 1990s, but they were dropped.

Court documents show Garland was smart enough to get into medical school, evade police on drug charges for several years, get a job working in a laboratory without proper credentials, and win a tax-court case against the federal government acting as his own lawyer.

One document says that after a year of medical school in Alberta, Garland had a breakdown. It also says he suffers from attention deficit disorder and was traumatized after a horrific car crash caused when he fell asleep at the wheel.

Another document blames mental issues in part for various property offences he was convicted of committing more than 20 years ago.

In 1992, he was arrested for making amphetamines at his parents’ farm. But documents from his tax case say he skipped bail and fled to Vancouver, where he assumed the name of a dead teen.

While on the lam, Garland lied about having a science degree and got a job at a laboratory testing pesticides, herbicides and organic compounds, his tax case heard.

He had the right skills, though, and was eventually promoted to supervisor. But after four years, he suffered another breakdown and was fired in 1997.

Two years later, while he was working at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, RCMP caught up with Garland.

He pleaded guilty to his old drug charges — two counts of trafficking — and was sentenced to 39 months in prison. He received one month for possession of stolen property.

The Parole Board of Canada granted him accelerated release after six months.

It noted in its decision that a charge of possession of a prohibited weapon was dismissed in 1988, an assault charge was stayed in 1989 and, in 1999, another weapon charge was withdrawn.

But a psychologist determined Garland had “little violence potential to others.” The board ordered a psychologist and psychiatrist to closely monitor him on his release.

The tax court case came after his release.

The Canada Revenue Agency went after Garland for employment insurance benefits it gave him after losing his laboratory job, arguing he had been using a fake name and a fake social insurance number.

Garland took the agency to court and, acting as his own lawyer, won his case in 2005. The judge said Garland had done his job well and deserved the government payments.

The judge described Garland as an intelligent but troubled man who “acknowledged that he made some not very well thought out decisions.”

Garland was first questioned in the Liknes case more than a week ago and police held him on charges he continued to use the same stolen identity he had used in Vancouver.

His lawyer on those charges did not return calls Monday after the murder charges were laid.

Garland said nothing to reporters after his arrest.

He is due back in court Wednesday.

Just Posted

Unemployment rate and EI beneficiaries down in Central Alberta

The unemployment rate for Red Deer region and the number of people… Continue reading

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Women’s marches underway in Canadian cities, a year after Trump inauguration

Women are gathering in dozens of communities across the country today to… Continue reading

Red Deer councillor balks at city getting stuck with more funding responsibilities

Volunteer Central seeks municipal funding after being cut off by government

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month