Memorial for murdered Calgary family grows as search continues

A Superman t-shirt and a note are left at a growing memorial outside the Liknes family home in...

A Superman t-shirt and a note are left at a growing memorial outside the Liknes family home in Parkhill in SW Calgary, Alta. on Tuesday July 15, 2014. The memorial has grown steadily since the announcement yesterday that police charged Douglas Garland with the murder of Alvin and Kathryn Liknes and their grandson five-year-old Nathan O'Brien. Stuart Dryden/Calgary Sun/QMI Agency

Damien Wood and Jenna McMurray, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:17 AM ET

CALGARY ─ Green balloons rose into the evening sky above Calgary on Tuesday night.

Whether in a group or on their own, people wanted the family of five-year-old Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathryn Liknes, to look up and see a show of support.

The day prior, police broke the news that the trio, missing more than a week, are now presumed murdered.

Lorri Swinson believes the support is very important, "Now, more than ever."

Steve Simone said the idea behind the green balloons, much like the idea behind Swinson's ongoing green ribbon campaign, was to simply say, "Our hearts are with you ... they're still with you and they will be always."

"Everyone needs that ─ to know that people care about people," Simone said.

Clutching her six-month-old son Adam, Alana Pandea said the whole city has come together, because this has become its collective nightmare.

Brad Resvick, organizer of the Parkhill balloon release, said he was aware of roughly 25 similar events planned in and around Calgary Tuesday evening, "To basically show them that we do care, that we are behind them and that this was a heinous crime."

Douglas Garland, 54, faces two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Alvin and Kathy Liknes and is charged with second-degree murder in the death of their grandson.

He is expected to be in court Wednesday.

Police have yet to find the bodies of the victims.

Outside the Liknes’ Parkhill home there’s a growing pile of flowers, stuffed animals, balloons and a Superman T-shirt.

On the hanger are the words "Forever Loved Always Remembered."

The shirt is an especially fitting tribute to Nathan O'Brien, whose parents call him their superhero.

There was a steady stream of community members at the home Tuesday; some would take green ribbons from a box by the front steps to wear as symbols of support for the families.

Others pause on the lawn to think about what those families must be enduring.

"Like many Calgarians, just really feeling for (Nathan's parents) Rod and Jen and their family right now and I just can't believe this has happened," said Brenda Palmer after placing flowers on the pile.


Bobbi-Jo Zimmer drove 45 minutes from High River with her four kids, aged two through nine, who have been praying for Nathan and his family.

"It's a daily 'Have they found that little boy?' when they wake up and saying prayers every night for him when we go to bed," she said.

"They heard the news yesterday and we felt that it was important for us to come and show our sympathy for the family.

"Having kids of my own, my hearts breaks for the mother, with having two others (kids) and having the missing one not being part of the family."

Zimmer's kids placed flowers they picked themselves on the memorial.

"They said one was for Grandma, one was for Grandpa and one was for Nathan," she said, adding they also brought a balloon with one of her sons' toy cars attached.

"He said 'I would like him to have this,'" she said.


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