Calgary police expanded their search for a missing boy and his grandparents to a garbage dump Wednesday, as the man they consider a person of interest in the case learned he could be released from custody as early as Friday.

Police spokeswoman Emma Poole said seven officers were going through the Spyhill Landfill, northwest of the city, looking for evidence in the disappearance of Nathan O'Brien, 5, and his grandparents Alvin and Kathy Liknes.

She said the search is routine in such missing persons cases and it's expected officers will be checking other landfills in the area as well.

"They're attempting to cast a wider net,'' said Poole.

While the search was underway, Douglas Garland appeared in court on identity theft charges unrelated to the missing persons case.

Police say 54-year-old Garland was questioned last weekend in relation to the disappearance and officers continue to search his parents' rural property north of Calgary.

He appeared in court via video from the Calgary Remand Centre for what was supposed to be a bail hearing.

But the Crown and defence both agreed Garland could be released with a number of conditions. He first needs to provide a new address for where he would be staying, with the search ongoing at the farm where he had been living.

He is to return to court Friday.

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  • Mourners have placed flowers, notes and teddy bears at an impromptu memorial for Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathryn Liknes, at the Liknes home in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, July 15, 2014.

  • Flowers and teddy bears are shown at an impromptu memorial for Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathryn Liknes, at the Liknes home in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, July 15, 2014. A man who has been under investigation in the disappearance of a Calgary boy and his grandparents has been formally charged with their murders.

  • Bobbi-Jo Zimmer, from High River, Alta., and her children, left to right, Tayvon, two, Braylon, seven, and Dawson, nine, place flowers at an impromptu memorial for Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathryn Liknes, at the Liknes home in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, July 15, 2014.

  • Mourners have placed flowers, notes and teddy bears at an impromptu memorial for Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathryn Liknes, at the Liknes home in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, July 15, 2014.

  • Kelley MacAuley observes a memorial after placing flowers at an impromptu memorial for Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathryn Liknes, at the Liknes home in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, July 15, 2014.

  • Jennifer Kohut, centre, embraces her sons Axton, left, three, and Cadon, five, after placing flowers and toys at an impromptu memorial for Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathryn Liknes, at the Liknes home in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, July 15, 2014.

  • Douglas Garland is escorted into a Calgary police station in connection with the disappearance of Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents in Calgary, Alta., Monday, July 14, 2014.

  • Douglas Garland is escorted into a Calgary police station in connection with the disappearance of Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents in Calgary, Alta., Monday, July 14, 2014.

  • Douglas Garland is escorted into a Calgary police station in connection with the disappearance of Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents in Calgary, Alta., Monday, July 14, 2014.

  • Douglas Garland is escorted into a Calgary police station in connection with the disappearance of Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents in Calgary, Alta., Monday, July 14, 2014.

  • Calgary Police Chief Rick Hanson says first and second degree murder charges are being filed in connection with the disappearance of Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Monday, July 14, 2014.

  • Calgary Police Chief Rick Hanson says first and second degree murder charges are being filed in connection with the disappearance of Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Monday, July 14, 2014.

  • Calgary Police Chief Rick Hanson says first and second degree murder charges are being filed in connection with the disappearance of Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Monday, July 14, 2014.

  • People comfort each other at a candlelight vigil for missing Calgarians Nathan O'Brien, five, and his grandparents Alvin and Kathryn Liknes in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, July 10, 2014.

  • People comfort each other at a candlelight vigil for missing Calgarians Nathan O'Brien, five, and his grandparents Alvin and Kathryn Liknes in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, July 10, 2014.

  • Volunteers prepare candles at a candlelight vigil for missing Calgarians Nathan O'Brien, five, and his grandparents Alvin and Kathryn Liknes in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, July 10, 2014.

  • A photo collage of the Liknes and O'Brien family is displayed as neighbors, friends and relatives hold a candlelight vigil for missing Calgarians Nathan O'Brien, five, and his grandparents Alvin and Kathryn Liknes in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, July 10, 2014.

  • Rod O'Brien, centre, tears up as he looks at a photo collage of the Liknes and O'Brien family during a candlelight vigil for missing Calgarians Nathan O'Brien, five, and his grandparents Alvin and Kathryn Liknes in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, July 10, 2014.

  • A photo collage of the Liknes and O'Brien family is displayed as neighbors, friends and relatives hold a candlelight vigil for missing Calgarians Nathan O'Brien, five, and his grandparents Alvin and Kathryn Liknes in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, July 10, 2014.

  • Rod O'Brien, centre, father of Nathan O'Brien, attends with neighbors, friends and relatives, a candlelight vigil for missing Calgarians Nathan O'Brien, five, and his grandparents Alvin and Kathryn Liknes in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, July 10, 2014.

  • Jennifer O'Brien, left, mother of Nathan O'Brien, attends with neighbors, friends and relatives, a candlelight vigil for missing Calgarians Nathan O'Brien, five, and his grandparents Alvin and Kathryn Liknes in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, July 10, 2014.

  • Rod O'Brien, and Jennifer O'Brien attend a candlelight vigil for missing Calgarians Nathan O'Brien, five, and his grandparents Alvin and Kathryn Liknes in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, July 10, 2014.

  • Neighbors, friends and relatives hold a candlelight vigil for missing Calgarians Nathan O'Brien, five, and his grandparents Alvin and Kathryn Liknes in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, July 10, 2014.

  • Rod O'Brien, right, and Jennifer O'Brien, centre, attend a candlelight vigil for missing Calgarians Nathan O'Brien, five, and his grandparents Alvin and Kathryn Liknes in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, July 10, 2014.

  • Police investigators comb a hay field north of Airdrie, Alta., Monday, July 7, 2014, looking for clues to the disappearance of three people.

  • Police investigators use an inflatable raft in a slough north of Airdrie, Alta., Monday, July 7, 2014, looking for clues to the disappearance of three people.

  • Police investigators prepare to search a hay field north of Airdrie, Alta., Monday, July 7, 2014, looking for clues to the disappearance of three people.

  • Police investigators prepare to search a hay field north of Airdrie, Alta., Monday, July 7, 2014, looking for clues to the disappearance of three people.

  • Police investigators prepare to search a hay field north of Airdrie, Alta., Monday, July 7, 2014, looking for clues to the disappearance of three people.

  • Police investigators prepare to search a hay field north of Airdrie, Alta., Monday, July 7, 2014, looking for clues to the disappearance of three people.

  • Police investigators at a rural residence north of Airdrie, Alta., Saturday, July 5, 2014, looking for clues to the disappearance of three people.

  • Police investigators comb a hay field north of Airdrie, Alta., Saturday, July 5, 2014, looking for clues to the disappearance of three people.

  • Police investigators comb a hay field north of Airdrie, Alta., Saturday, July 5, 2014, looking for clues to the disappearance of three people.

  • Police investigators comb a hay field north of Airdrie, Alta., Saturday, July 5, 2014, looking for clues to the disappearance of three people.

  • Police investigators comb a hay field north of Airdrie, Alta., Saturday, July 5, 2014, looking for clues to the disappearance of three people.

  • Police investigators comb a hay field north of Airdrie, Alta., Saturday, July 5, 2014, looking for clues to the disappearance of three people.

  • Police investigators at a rural residence north of Airdrie, Alta., Saturday, July 5, 2014, looking for clues to the disappearance of three people.

  • Police investigators at a rural residence north of Airdrie, Alta., Saturday, July 5, 2014, looking for clues to the disappearance of three people.

  • Rod O'Brien wipes his tears while holding a butterfly made by his son as he speaks to the media about his son Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents Alvin and Kathryn Liknes during a press conference in Calgary on Wednesday, July 2, 2014.

  • Rod and Jennifer O'Brien show their emotions as they speak to the media about their son Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents Alvin and Kathryn Liknes during a press conference in Calgary on Wednesday, July 2, 2014.

  • Rod and Jennifer O'Brien left, look on as Jeff Liknes, second from right, speaks to the media about his nephew Nathan O'Brien and his parents Alvin and Kathryn Liknes during a press conference in Calgary on Wednesday, July 2, 2014.

  • Jennifer O'Brien holds a piece of her son's clothing while speaking to the media about her son Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents Alvin and Kathryn Liknes during a press conference in Calgary on Wednesday, July 2, 2014.

  • Jennifer O'Brien holds a piece of her son's clothing while speaking to the media about her son Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents Alvin and Kathryn Liknes during a press conference in Calgary on Wednesday, July 2, 2014.

  • Rod O'Brien wipes his tears while holding a butterfly made by his son as he speaks to the media about his son Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents Alvin and Kathryn Liknes during a press conference in Calgary on Wednesday, July 2, 2014.

  • Rod and Jennifer O'Brien show their emotions as they speak to the media about their son Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents Alvin and Kathryn Liknes during a press conference in Calgary on Wednesday, July 2, 2014.

  • Nathan O'Brien is described as three feet tall, curly blonde hair, brown eyes, and was last seen wearing peach-coloured shorts and a blue-striped hoodie.

  • Kathryn Liknes is five-foot-three-inches tall, 120 pounds with reddish-brown hair and green eyes.

  • Alvin Liknes is six feet tall, 200 pounds with grey and blond hair and was wearing black shorts. Alvin has a distinctive walk.

  • Calgary police investigators check out the home where five-year-old Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents Alvin and Kathryn Liknes disappeared, in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, July 2, 2014.

  • Nathan O'Brien and his grandmother Kathy Liknes are shown in a Calgary Police Service handout photo. Calgary's police chief questions whether a reward would help the investigation into the disappearance of a five-year-old boy and his grandparents.

  • Police tape cordons off the home where five-year-old Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents Alvin and Kathryn Liknes disappeared, in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, July 2, 2014.

At one point Garland, dressed in a blue jail jumpsuit, leaned in close to the court camera, explaining to the judge that he had bad eyesight.

His lawyer made it clear he is only representing Garland on the charge of identity theft.

"I can only comment today on what was before the court,'' said Kim Ross. "I've only been retained on the charges unrelated to any other investigation that's going on right now. I have absolutely no knowledge of anything else other than the charges that are before the court here today.''

Nathan and his grandparents were last seen June 29, following an estate sale at the couple's home. Police believe a violent incident took place in the home, but have maintained they still hope to find the three alive.

Court records show Garland has a criminal past and mental problems.

In 2000, he was sentenced to 39 months in prison for making amphetamines at his parents' farm.

When the Parole Board of Canada later gave him accelerated release after six months, it noted in its decision that Garland's prior criminal record consisted of various property offences over the course of 20 years.

His mental health played a role in the crimes, the board said, but a psychologist determined that Garland had "little violence potential to others.''

It ordered a psychologist and psychiatrist to closely monitor him during his release.

A federal tax court ruling later in 2005 detailed more about Garland's past, indicating that he went to medical school for a year but left after having a mental breakdown. It also said he suffers from attention deficit disorder.

The document said that when Garland was first arrested on the drug charges back in 1992, he skipped bail and fled to Vancouver. He assumed the name of a dead person and got a job working for a laboratory company.

He was good enough to be promoted to supervisor but suffered another breakdown and was fired in 1997. Mounties eventually caught up with him on the drug charges and he pleaded guilty in court.

After he was released from prison, the Canada Revenue Agency went after him for employment insurance benefits it paid out after his laboratory job because he had been using a fake name and a fake social insurance number.

Garland took the agency to court and, acting as his own lawyer, won.

Calgary police have confirmed that Garland has a connection to the missing family members. His sister is in a relationship with a member of the Liknes family.

Calgary Police and RCMP continued to search his parents' rural property near Airdrie on Wednesday, bringing in paramedics and fire units.

The temperature was expected to hit near 30 C and the paramedics were there are a precaution for the searchers, while the fire department was on hand in case any chemicals were found on the property.

Officers continued to guard the entrance to the tree-lined driveway. One of the police tactical vans, along with a number of vehicles, were visible on the property from the adjacent road.

Earlier in the week, dozens of officers searched ponds and stands of trees up to three kilometres away from the acreage.

Police urged property owners in rural areas outside of Calgary and companies who own rural sites, such as oil wells, to check their land for anything suspicious.

With files from Chris Purdy in Edmonton

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