Douglas Garland appeared via closed circuit TV in a Calgary court, where the case was adjourned until Sept. 17.
Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents Alvin and Kathy Liknes (LIHK'-ness) disappeared June 29.
A hard drive with evidence is to be provided to the defence next week.
The Crown expects a three-week preliminary hearing will be scheduled for between six and eight months from now.
Cherri Hodgins, a friend of Kathy Liknes, said outside court that the family is shattered.