CALGARY - Police believe a child custody dispute was the motive behind the killing of a young father who disappeared early this year.

Ryan Lane, 24, was last seen in February in northwest Calgary. His remains were found during a search of a large area near Beiseker, just northeast of the city, in June.

The search involved volunteers, a Calgary police dog unit, a mounted patrol unit, a helicopter and the city fire department.

Staff Sgt. Grant Miller says it took several months to get lab results to identify the body.

"We didn't know exactly on that day what we had found and that's why we had to go through the lab process," he explained at a news conference Friday.

It appears Lane was lured to the Country Hills neighbourhood in Calgary's northwest, then kidnapped and killed, Miller said.

Twenty-six-year-old Sheena Cuthill, the mother of Lane's young daughter, is charged with first-degree murder along with her husband Tim Rempel, 27, and brother-in-law Wilhelm Rempel, 38.

All three have been remanded into custody and are to make their first court appearances on Thursday.

The cause of Lane's death has not been released.

The Lane family has asked for privacy, but said last week that all their son wanted was to spend time with his daughter.

Police believe Lane received a phone call the night he disappeared from someone offering to help him in a custody dispute, but his father said his son wasn't in a custody battle.

Lane's mother, Lorraine Jackson, has said her son wasn't a threat to anyone and the family will never get over what happened.

"Ryan will never have a chance to know his daughter, to find true love, to grow old with us," she said at a news conference Nov. 23. "Everything is gone for him now.

"And we have to carry on?''

(CHQR, The Canadian Press)

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version had a different last name for the female suspect.