CALGARY — Calgary’s police chief questions whether a reward would help the investigation into the disappearance of a five-year-old boy and his grandparents.
Nathan O’Brien was reported missing Monday when his mother went to pick him up after a sleepover at the grandparents’ home.
Alvin Likens, 66, his wife Kathy, 53, and Nathan weren’t there and an Amber Alert was issued by police.
Nathan’s father, Rod O’Brien, has told local media the family will be offering a reward and a news conference was scheduled with investigators later Wednesday.
But Chief Rick Hansen said in cases like this, a reward can just cause more work for police because people could step forward with bogus tips that must be checked out.
“If you do use a reward, if there is a lot of money that is created for a reward, frequently it increases the workload because you have got all kinds of people then who step forward with information that may not even be related to it,” he said in an interview with radio station CHQR.
“You have to, at that point in time, filter any and all information that you get. And if you have a significant reward, it does add to the workload, not only for us, but for the Crown prosecutors and everybody else.”
Hansen said if people have information about a case they will usually call the Crime Stoppers phone tip line.
There was an outpouring of sympathy and support for the family on Rod O’Brien’s Facebook page. Many were offering help.
“My heart and soul goes out to the safe return of Nathan!! Praying everything turns perfectly,” posted one person.
“Praying, praying, praying!” wrote another.
Investigators have said that based on things they found in the grandparents’ home, they don’t believe the three left voluntarily.
An estate sale was held in the home over the weekend and there have been reports that the grandparents talked about downsizing and moving to Mexico, but police said they haven’t been able to determine whether the sale is relevant to the case.
Police have said there are no custody issues with the family — the boy’s parents are married and he is their biological son. Police have also said they have no history with the family.
The grandparents’ vehicles are accounted for, as are those of other family members.
Forensic investigators have been scouring the property for clues.
Nathan O’Brien is described as three feet tall, with curly blonde hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing peach-coloured shorts and a blue-striped hoodie.
Alvin Liknes is six feet tall, 200 pounds with grey and blond hair and was wearing black shorts. Alvin has a distinctive walk. Kathryn Liknes is five-foot-three-inches tall, 120 pounds with reddish-brown hair and green eyes.