A violent crime occurred in the home where three Calgarians, including a five-year-old, went missing this week, and someone's life could be in danger because of the violence, police said.
Despite the violence, there was no forced entry into the home, Calgary Police Service Staff Sergeant Doug Andrus told reporters on Friday. Roughly 200 people may have been through the home just before the trio went missing, rummaging through an estate sale on Sunday.
Officers investigating the suspicious disappearance of Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents, Alvin Cecil Liknes and Kathryn Faye Liknes, want to speak with the driver of a green Ford truck spotted several times in the neighbourhood the day of the crime, Staff Sgt. Andrus said.
"A violent crime occurred in that residence," he said. "Based on the evidence, I would say that somebody would be in medical distress."
The truck in question is a Ford F-150, made in the late 1980s or early 1990s. It was captured on CCTV tape, showing up several times in the southwest Calgary neighbourhood that day. Police have images of the vehicle in daylight, but were unable to grab a licence plate number. The truck appears to be in "very good condition," police said.
Officers are expediting the processing of forensic evidence from the crime scene. Staff Sgt. Andrus would not say what specifically prompted investigators to describe the crime as violent or why any of the missing could be in "medical distress."
Police do not know if the driver of the green truck went through the home during the estate sale. Staff Sgt. Andrus would not say whether that person is a suspect. The driver is considered a "person of interest" and may have "information" pertaining to the crime, he said. They do not know if other people were in the vehicle.
There were "marks" on the side of the Liknes home that stretched "a distance," Staff Sgt. Andrus has said. He would not elaborate Friday when asked if the marks were related to the truck or a struggle.
An Amber Alert is still in effect for Nathan, and his grandparents are not suspects. The homicide unit is working the case
Amanda Pick, the executive director of the Missing Children's Society of Canada, assists police with the society's search program dubbed Milk Carton 2.0. The system allows people to post information about missing kids on Facebook and Twitter and create an online search party. Ms. Pick, who is based in Calgary, said her investigative team, which consists of former law enforcement officers, said this missing-persons case is out of the ordinary.
"They've worked on cases for 20 years and they said they've never seen anything like" this, she said.
Nathan, who adores superheroes, went for a sleepover at his grandparents' home, with his mother leaving him there around 10 p.m. Sunday. When she returned around 10 a.m. Monday, the three family members were gone.
About 75 people who attended the Liknes's sale spoke with police at the Parkhill Stanley Park Community Centre Thursday. Police are collecting fingerprints to compare against those found in the home after the disappearance. Investigators also want people to bring in photos of items they bought at the sale so they can determine what is missing from the Liknes residence.
Jennifer and Rod O'Brien, Nathan's parents, made a public plea on Wednesday for information and the safe return of their family members. They did not offer a reward for information or the return of their son, even though Mr. O'Brien earlier in the week indicated in an e-mail to CTV Calgary that the family was considering putting up about $100,000.