Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Thursday, July 03, 2014


"Nathan, you are our superhero right now and we're going to bring you home very soon. Nathan, God is taking care of your soul and Mom and Dad need you to be brave right now."
Rod O'Brien, Calgary, Alberta

"We can't be with you right now, but the best people that can be with you other than us is your grandparents and I know Grandma's holding you so tightly right now and taking care of you and they are doing everything in their power to keep you safe so I need you to stay strong Nathan. Mommy and Daddy love you more than anything in the world."
Jennifer O'Brien, Calgary, Alberta

Jennifer and Rod O'Brien
Jennifer O'Brien speaks to the media Wednesday, sending out a plea to her son Nathan to stay strong, as her husband, Rod O'Brien, holding a paper butterfly made by Nathan, wipes away tears. (CBC)
"I'm a person who would say that rewards aren't necessarily the best thing. I think it's important to allow the police to do their job. Let the resources be applied."
"When we do an investigation, what we don't do is release too much information for obvious reasons. Suffice to say, there's a great deal of resources focused on this investigation and we will continue to put those resources forward to chase down any information, any phone calls, any leads, anything that comes up."
Calgary Police Chief Rick Hanson
Over 50,000 children are reported missing each year in Canada. Some children are abducted by strangers, but far more often it is estranged parents, the mother or the father, perhaps grandparents who may be involved in spiriting a child away, against court orders giving the other parent custody. Sometimes it is children themselves, older teens, who decide there is nothing to be gained for them in staying where they are. Sometimes it is teens who have been lured by promises and find themselves in situations they cannot extricate themselves from.

And sometimes it's just an awful mystery, and no one can imagine where the child has gone to. There are occasions when the child is later found having come to harm, but still living. In some instances the child is found and brought home unharmed, having decided to make him/herself scarce. And there are times when what is left is a memory and the child's whereabouts are never discovered. It's hard to say whether that can be more awful, more dreadful in its impact, than finding the remains of a child who has been murdered.

On Monday an Amber Alert was issued in Calgary when the mother of three young boys went to the home of her mother and her father to pick up the oldest of her children, five year old Nathan O'Brien who had slept over at his grandparents' home the night before. Amber Alerts are reserved for those horrible occasions when a child is missing and authorities have reason to believe that child may be in imminent danger of great harm. The point of the alert is to instantly inform all local security agencies.

Kathryn Liknes, from left, Nathan O'Brien and Alvin Liknes
The suspicious disappearance of Kathryn Liknes, far left, Nathan O'Brien, centre, and Alvin Liknes, far right, concerns police, who say they have not determined a motive. (Calgary Police Service)

And sometimes that Amber Alert works very well indeed, and the child is swiftly found due to the alertness of both authorities and people in the community who become aware of a situation involving a vulnerable child. In this instance, the child was with his loving grandparents. The grandparents, Alvin Liknes, 66, and Kathryn Liknes, 53, are missing along with their five-year old grandson. On that very weekend the grandparents had held an 'estate sale', placing all their household belongings up for public sale.

Many people had passed by and through their house where everything in the interior was for sale. The grandparents were on the cusp of relocating, moving to Mexico from Canada. Suddenly, they are gone, absent from their home, and with them their grandson. Rod O'Brien, the little boy's father, and Jennifer his wife cannot imagine what has become of their child, and their child's grandparents. Police do not suspect the grandparents of having abducted their beloved grandchild.

It would appear that the interior of the home of the grandparents, though having undergone the traffic of strangers perusing the belongings with a view to taking possession of them through the sale, did not present as it normally would, and absolutely should. Although police are not divulging more information to the public than they feel they need to under the circumstances, it seems there is the real possibility of foul play, the outcome of which no one can really imagine.

They are asking anyone from among the public who attended the sale in the Parkhill neighbourhood of Calgary to drop by a "community hall meeting" scheduled for Thursday. There is talk of a reward for information to be posted. Crime Stoppers will take calls from the public should anyone feel they have information that might be useful: 1-800-222-8477/Crime Stoppers.

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