THIS BLOG IS IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER – UPDATES ARE AT THE BOTTOM.
Police put out an appeal for two missing children, Orrin (4) and Orson (3) West on December 21st 2020.
They had been reported missing by their adoptive parents, Trezell and Jacqueline West, from their home in California City, CA at around 6pm.
Right away red flags were raised as they only had a photo of Orrin for the first media pleas and took a few hours to update to include a pixelated picture of Orson.
Trezell said that evening, at around 5 p.m, the boys were playing on their back porch. He says Jacqueline was inside wrapping presents while he went out the back gate to gather wood for a fire. When he returned, the pair had vanished. They searched inside the house and around the back yard. He then drove around the neighbourhood calling their names and talking to neighbours.
“I came home and I told my wife, ‘We need to call the cops’,” Trezell said. “It’s getting dark and I need help, we’ve gotta get going.”https://www.kget.com/news/local-news/two-missing-boys-in-california-city-heres-what-we-know
“I realized that I left the back gate open and I panicked and came inside the house, searched the house, me and my wife. Once that didn’t pan out, I got in the van, I looked down the street in both directions, it was getting dark, getting cold,”https://people.com/crime/calif-brothers-vanished-8-days-ago-after-dad-said-he-left-yard/
Straight away, police and locals started searching. By Wednesday the boys biological mother, Ryan Dean, came to join the search.
“I just had to be here because my babies are supposedly missing from this house, So I just need to be here right now.”https://www.kget.com/news/local-news/two-missing-boys-in-california-city-heres-what-we-know/
The family have lived in that house for three months. Trezell, Jacqueline, Orrin, Orson, two other adopted children, and two biological. The four other children were not in the home at the time and were with their grandparents for the Christmas holidays.
Distance between old house and new-
The couple have fostered Orrin and Orson since 2018 and adopted them in April 2019. Changing the children’s names from Classic and Cinsere to Orrin and Orson.
While it is not confirmed by law enforcement why Ryan lost custody of the boys, she claims it is because of medical marijuana use-
Police quickly got search warrants, K-9s to track any scent and took the family van. The dogs apparently did not trace anything of the boys leaving the home. Neighbours reported police digging in the backyard.
News interview speaking to the bio mother-
News live at the scene-
Interviews with adoptive parents-
Statement Analysis -Analysis of Adoptive Parents of Missing Toddlers
Police news statement from 29th December-
Points of interested learned/confirmed in this interview-
- One child had a fractured leg.
- No sightings from any of the neighbours of the kids in the three months they lived there.
- The couples other children were placed in protective custody.
- The chief said he DOES suspect foul play.
AV News (who have done some great work getting information out about these boys) live streamed the next stage of the search-
Footage from the neighbours CCTV.
The biological family of the boys raised money and put up billboards to raise awareness for the boys in February 2021.
“It’s heartbreaking to see their faces up there because they’re babies,” said Diondra Key, from the biological family. “They shouldn’t be missing. Their faces shouldn’t be on a billboard at all. They should be with their family.”
“Not everybody’s on social media and not everybody watches the news, so maybe someone that’s traveling can see it and you might get a tip,” said Rosanna Wills, a cousin of the boys. “You never know who might know something.”
There was a GFM to raise money for the billboards, I had a look and it was closed off after raising almost $4k.
On March 1, 2021, it was announced that the Bakersfield Police Department was now the main agency in this investigation.
“We understand the public outcry for information regarding the ongoing efforts to locate Orrin and Orson West. Significant resources have and will continue to be allocated to explore all tips, investigative leads and possibilities,” BPD said in a news release. “However, specific information regarding law enforcement efforts, strategies and knowledge will not be released to protect the integrity of the investigation. Our goal is the return of the boys and the investigation will continue until that is accomplished. All inquiries regarding this investigation should be directed to the Bakersfield Police Department.”
On March 6, the Bakersfield Police conducted searches around the areas of Cottonwood and East Pacheco roads. The boys were not found, and police said they could not say what led them to the field because they need to preserve the integrity of the investigation. Around 50 officers and the FBI were involved in this search.
“Police cars that were out there. Out here two houses down and then they went all the way to the end of the block. They were in the yard, and then they stayed around for a while. Then four of them left. There were two still left, and they stay, maybe no longer than 30 minutes if that long, and then they left. But that truck that’s in the yard wasn’t there,” said Vina. .
The department did not provide any additional information about the warrant, saying that “limited information is being provided to protect the integrity of the investigation and ultimately safeguard any facts from being tainted. The public is strongly discouraged from making assumptions of guilt and dissemination of rumor and speculation.”
Wanda West, the adoptive grandmother of the boys, released a statement on March 28. You can view all the family statements in full here.
When I learned that two of my grandchildren, the youngest — Orrin and Orson, had disappeared this past December from their home in California City I was devastated. I am still devastated and in disbelief more than three months later that this has happened to these innocent babies and they have not been found. That they are not safe and sound at home with us is horrendous.
Less than 18 hours after their disappearance we made the heart wrenching choice to place their four brothers (my other babies) in the hands of the FBI for their protection. We had no clue what was happening or who was out there and in an instant all six of my grandchildren were gone. Out of my reach. I was shocked, hurt, worried, upset and confused.
Today I am still in shock, hurt, worried, upset but not confused. I am clear that my purpose and mission is to get my babies back. All six of them.
Someone knows exactly where Orrin and Orson are and what happened in December. Come forward. God and our family has already forgiven you and you will be free from the guilt and burden I know you are carrying. These are babies who are loved and have an entire future waiting for them to explore. Release them and yourself from this. All we want are the boys back.
The biological father, Charles Pettus, spoke to the media in October 2021.
“I don’t want my kids to be deceased, I want them to come back home because my kids is all I got,” Charles said “After my parents go, it’s just me and my kids.”
He also spoke about how he found out that his kids had been adopted in the first place:
“I was looking through family members’ phones and then we watched the news, that’s how we found out,” Charles said. “I didn’t know they even sent them out to other people.”
Some articles say that Charles had another child who died in an accident at some point. “They took my family, they took my kids away from me, my kids are my life,” Charles said. “No matter how long it takes, how hard it’s going to be, I won’t give, I will never give up.”
Charles Pettus launched a lawsuit against Kerns County in December 2021. Kern Child Protective Services took the boys from their biological parents and placed them with Jacqueline and Trezell West.
That suit alleges the county was negligent to take the boys from their birth parents — Charles and his mother, Brenda — and place them in the custody of the West family, which adopted the boys and had custody when they disappeared.
The suit also alleges wrongful death.
The wrongful death allegation is based on reports that human remains were apparently found near where the boys disappeared.
“They recently found human remains it looks like they were found in early-November,” Attorney Antonio Castillo said. “So the children’s father, Mr. Pettus, went in to allow DNA to be collected see if there was a potential DNA match.”
Bakersfield Police declined to comment on the possible discovery of remains and said it is routine to ask family of missing persons to submit DNA samples.
Kern County CPS did not have any comment regarding the suit.
Ultimately, Pettus family attorney Darren Richie said, Kern County put the brothers in an unsafe situation and is responsible for whatever happened. “We believe that they [Kern County Child Protective Services] are responsible for their disappearance,“ Richie said. “We will see if that turns into more and it is incumbent upon these bureaucratic government agencies to do more with respect with the lives of children, this is not a puppy that we are taking form one shelter to another, these are human beings.”
I actually didn’t realise that any remains possibly related to the boys had been found until I started to research this case.
I don’t remember hearing about it in November 2021, and a google search does not turn anything up. Some bones were found in Victorville in November – https://www.vvng.com/human-bones-found-along-dirt-road-in-victorville/
But this is 70 miles, over an hour from Cal City? Not sure if these are the remains in question.
NAMUS has not been updated with any unidentified remains in Kern County since 2018. So I am not sure what is happening?
Chief Jon Walker announced in February 2022 that he is retiring after two years with the department and almost three decades in law enforcement in Los Angeles.
He spoke about the case of the missing brothers recently:
“We did everything we could with that case and I’m at peace with that. “I have not given up hope for those kids. I still wake up every day thinking about them. But it absolutely had nothing to do with my decision (to retire).”
“I’ve taken this department to a place where we can push farther but the fact that the resources aren’t there for us to push any farther. I don’t think I can take us any farther at this point. So maybe it’s time for some new ideas, for somebody new to come in and take them to the next level.”
MARCH 1, 2022 UPDATE
On Tuesday March 1, police filed murder charges against Trezell West. Trezell was not listed in custody as of 5 p.m. He’s charged with two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of willful cruelty to a child and falsely reporting an emergency.