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CALGARY — A preliminary hearing is to begin today for a man accused of killing a five-year-old Calgary boy and his grandparents.

Douglas Garland, who is 55, faces two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Alvin and Kathy Liknes and one charge of second-degree murder in the death of Nathan O’Brien.

The trio vanished from the Liknes home last June.

Nathan had been sleeping over with his grandparents after they held a sale at their Calgary home in advance of a move to Edmonton and then Mexico.

When his mother went to pick up Nathan the next morning, no one was home.

Police have said there was evidence of a violent encounter in the house, but have not disclosed a motive.

Investigators have continued to comb through several properties surrounding the property near Airdrie, north of Calgary, where Garland lived. A search last year went on for weeks and police resumed looking for evidence in the same area in March.

The preliminary inquiry is to determine whether there’s enough evidence to send the case to trial. It’s scheduled to last for two weeks.

Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

The Canadian Press

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