Bail granted to person of interest in missing boy, grandparents case

A man that police call a ’person of interest’ in the disappearance of a five-year-old Calgary boy and his grandparents was granted bail Friday along with strict conditions.

CALGARY — A man that police call a ’person of interest’ in the disappearance of a five-year-old Calgary boy and his grandparents was granted bail Friday along with strict conditions.

Douglas Garland, appearing in court via video, was to be released on $750 bail.

He was ordered to live in transitional housing such as a hotel, motel or a homeless shelter and must report to a bail supervisor three times a week and to police once a week. A curfew from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. will remain in effect and he cannot leave Alberta. He is to remain under the care and direction of a physician.

Garland is not allowed to return to his home northeast of Airdrie, which is still being searched by police. He asked court if the curfew would apply if he was working late on the farm.

His lawyer, Kim Ross, told the court he would clarify the information for his client.

Ross told reporters he has had limited conversations with Garland since he was only retained a couple of days ago.

“He’s doing fine under the circumstances. Right now, all he’s in for is the identity theft and the credit-card charges and that’s all we’re dealing with right now,” said Ross, who had no comment on where his client would reside or any other details.

Garland, 54, was being held on identity theft charges unrelated to the disappearance of Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents Alvin and Kathy Liknes.

The three family members were last seen on June 29, after what police say was a violent incident in the Liknes home.

The couple had an estate sale at their home before they disappeared and Nathan was there for a sleepover. When his mother went to pick him up the next day, no one was home.

About 500 people turned out Thursday night for an emotional candlelight vigil at a nearby community centre.

Nathan’s mother, Jennifer O’Brien, said there’s no doubt in her mind that the three are out there somewhere.

“We’ve just got to find them and the police are doing everything they can do,” she said. “I’m hopeful in every way and we all are. I hope this turns out to be a happy story and I think it’s going to.”

Garland was taken in for questioning last weekend and kept in custody on the unrelated charges. Officers have said they have other leads in their investigation, but he’s the only person of interest police have spoken about publicly.

Police have said Garland’s sister is in a relationship with a Liknes relative.

Court documents show he has a criminal history involving drugs and identity theft.

In 2000, he was sentenced to 39 months for making amphetamines at his parents’ farm. Before he went to prison, he jumped bail and lived for several years in Vancouver using the identity of a dead person.

Records show he also has a history of mental problems and breakdowns.

Police have also said they are looking into business dealings involving the Liknes family.

Alvin Liknes was involved in several oil and gas companies, including Winter Petroleum Ltd., which media reports say was forced to close a few weeks ago.

The CBC has quoted a police source as saying Garland and Alvin Liknes had a dispute over a patent for a gas device. Online records with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office show Liknes filed a patent in 2000 for a “method and apparatus for de-watering producing gas wells.”

Garland is scheduled back in court Aug. 6.

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