Crimes: Kidnapping, Triple Murder
Where to start with Douglas Garland? This story is about a horrendous, heartbreaking crime committed by a horror of a human being. It’s about one monstrous hellbeast taking the lives of 3 innocent people, including a little boy, in the worst way he could imagine.
Maybe it’s better to start with the victims. On June 29, 2014, Alvin and Kathy Liknes of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, held an estate sale in anticipation of retirement. They were planning to move to Edmonton, Alberta, and to spend the winter in Mexico.
After the estate sale, the couple was pleased to have their daughter and young grandsons, Nathan and Max, stay for an impromptu sleepover.
Nathan loved his grandparents so much that he’d actually chosen to visit with them that day instead of going to the zoo.
Max, the baby, woke up in the middle of the night, so he was scooped up and taken home by his mother, Jennifer O’Brien. Nathan was left sleeping with his grandma.
And that was the last that was seen of Alvin Liknes, 66, Kathy Liknes, 52 and Nathan O’Brien, 5. It should have been happy times for grandparents and grandson, enjoying each other’s company. It would have been, except for Douglas Garland.
So what was the deal with the evil, monstrous hellbeast? Well, years and years before, Alvin Liknes patented an oilfield pump in his own name. Douglas Garland had done some work on the prototype, and he felt hard-done-by. Never mind that the pump never made Alvin Liknes any real money, Douglas Garland begrudged the man. It was a grudge he never let go of.
For years and years, the hellbeast fantasized about getting even with Alvin and Kathy Liknes. He fed his sick obsession with the couple by researching on the Internet how to kill, how to torture, and how to cause concussions, brain damage and unconsciousness. He also looked up medical implements used for amputation and autopsies. He saved photos on his computer of dismembered bodies, and of women bound and wearing diapers. He also had a book on how to dispose of dead bodies.
The monster also searched how to pick or drill out Schlage BE365 locks — the kind of lock on the Likneses’ side door.
Douglas Garland also collected items for his fantasies — meat hooks, handcuffs (adult and child size), restraints, saws, a leather baton, knives, guns, and a bag of adult diapers. His obsession had obviously grown far beyond the fantasy stage.
Over the years, Douglas Garland kept tabs on Alvin Liknes through Internet searches. That’s how he learned about the estate and furniture sale. The Likneses were soon going to be moving, and that’s what prompted Douglas Garland to act when he did.
Douglas Garland did a Google map search of the Likneses’ address at 123 388A Ave. S.W., Calgary.
The night after the estate sale, Douglas Garland drove his father’s old, green, Ford F-150 truck to his victims’ home. He drilled out the lock on the side door. He gained entry and surprised all three as they were sleeping. It was a bloody, violent event that took place next. Even little Nathan was injured enough to bleed.
I don’t know if restraints were used on the victims then, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they were. The monster forced them to the truck, and drove them to his parents’ farm near Airdrie, Alberta. It was a large, sprawling property (16 hectares) with several outbuildings. Douglas Garland had a lot of space and privacy to do what he wanted to his victims, even if his parents were home.
The next morning, at the Liknes home, Jennifer O’Brien arrived to pick up her boy. All she found was an empty home with blood on the floors and walls. I cannot imagine the sheer hell she and her husband went through from that moment on.
The blood was smeared on the walls of the hallway, and pooled on the floors of the bedrooms. Partial footprints were found that likely belonged to the kidnapper.
Fortunately for investigators, there were surveillance cameras in the area around the Likneses’ Parkhill home. The old, green truck was spotted on film. The police released a photo of it to the news media.
Now too bad for Douglas Garland, but his younger sister, Patti Garland, was living common-law with Alvin Liknes’ son, Allen, at the time. Being part of the Liknes family, she was extremely concerned about the missing boy and his grandparents. She traveled from her home to stay at her parents’ farm just to be close by in case Allen needed her.
I’m sure Patti Garland watched every newscast to keep abreast of what was happening. And then she saw the photo on the news — immediately she knew it to be her father’s truck. It was parked right outside her parents’ home.
Patti Garland dispatched her son to take pictures of the truck, and she sent them to Allen so he could forward them to the detectives. Allen told the detectives about the ancient grudge.
On July 4, 2014, the RCMP’s emergency response team conducted a frantic search of the Garland property hoping against hope that the missing people would be rescued. It was an impressive raid, with an armoured vehicle even.
Alas, there was nobody dead or alive to be found. There was, however, a smouldering burn barrel. A cadaver dog reacted to several locations on the farm.
Police also found an empty shoebox for size 13 Delta 2 Dr. Scholl’s runners. The tread of that brand and size of shoe matched the partial footprints found in blood in the Liknes home.
Douglas Garland was nabbed by police that day, and placed under investigative detention.
The next day, police sifted through the burn barrel, and searched outbuildings and the basement of the Garland home. They found some bone and tooth fragments, a pair of glasses, and a baby tooth. They also found a piece of charred human flesh.
The large cache of weapons and restraints was found, as was Douglas Garland’s hidden computer hard drive with all that sick crap about torture and killing.
Blood was found on walls next to light switches. Investigators took swabs all over the property. Still no bodies were found.
The swabs were sent off to the forensic lab. It took time, but results came back showing that the very worst had happened to the missing people. Horrifically, Kathy Liknes’ DNA was found on meat hooks, and Alvin Liknes’ and Nathan O’Brien’s DNA was found on a saw. DNA of all three people were found on Douglas Garland’s rubber boots.
The investigation got a huge boost when an aerial surveying company that did work for the City of Airdrie supplied investigators with aerial photographs of the Garland property.
Douglas Garland, for all his painstaking efforts, didn’t count on photographs being taken from above on the very day he disposed of the Liknes family.
What was clearly visible close to the burn barrel were the bodies of 2 adults and a small child in the grass. The adults were naked except for what were likely adult diapers.
On July 15, 2014, Douglas Garland was charged with 3 counts of 1st-degree murder. The monster had the nerve to plead not guilty.
The trial, which began in January 2017, was a big event. Over 50 witnesses and 89 exhibits were presented throughout the 5-week trial. At its conclusion, the jury found Douglas Garland guilty of all 3 murders.
Justice David Gates imposed an impressive sentence upon the evil bastard by Canadian standards. Douglas Garland, 57, received a life sentence but cannot seek parole for at least 75 years dating from the time of his arrest. He’ll be 129 years old before he can apply for parole.
Justice Gates said the usual automatic life sentence with a minimum of 25 years before parole eligibility needed to be increased because of aggravating factors like Nathan’s young age and the killer not expressing remorse or regret.
“It’s hard to imagine a more cunning, cruel or horrific set of circumstances,” Justice Gates said.
I feel horrible for Jennifer and Rod O’Brien — to lose their son and her parents at the same time in the most horrific, terrifying manner is unbearable. I extend to them, and their remaining sons my most heartfelt condolences. I hope that the sentence handed to the heinous killer will give them some measure of peace.
I extend to the police officers and all the searchers who gave their best efforts to find the bodies all my respect. It was a dreadful task yet they undertook it bravely.
To Patti Garland, I extend many thanks for doing the right thing and not turning a blind eye for her brother’s sake. She was vital to solving the case.
To the jury, I salute those people. Having to look at the aerial photos and other evidence must have been a nightmare for them.
To the friends and family of Nathan O’Brien, and Alvin and Kathy Liknes, I extend my deepest sympathies. They were good people, and they most certainly did not deserve what happened to them.
To Justice Gates I extend kudos for ensuring that the killer will never, ever see freedom again.
And finally, to Douglas Garland, I wish him decades behind bars to mourn his lost freedom. He likely will never feel remorse. I doubt he has human feelings within him, or a conscience, or a soul.
I can’t help but think that the Liknes family was just a start for Douglas Garland. Why else would he collect a box full of restraints, including child-size handcuffs? Why else would he invest in all those knives and guns? Why else would he have a bag full of adult diapers? All of that wasn’t necessary for just Alvin and Kathy Liknes.
The books that were found in Douglas Garland’s possession included “Death Dealers Manual”, “How To Kill”, “Hitman” and “Murder Inc.”. These are basically how-to books on becoming an assassin. I truly believe that, if the monster hadn’t been caught and convicted, he would have gone on seeking out victims, torturing them, murdering them, and making them disappear.
RIP, Nathan O’Brien, and Alvin and Kathy Liknes. The world was better with you in it. You are no doubt much missed.
Calgary Herald article – trial
Calgary Herald article – grudge
Calgary Herald article – truck
Calgary Herald article – raid on farm
Calgary Herald article – search of property
Calgary Herald article – Google searches
National Post article – sentencing