Toddlers Orrin and Orson West Still Missing From California
Authorities say the brothers, ages 3 and 4, disappeared from their home in California City four days before Christmas 2020.
Orrin (left) and Orson (right) were last seen on December 21, 2020. They were both last seen wearing black sweeatshirts and gray sweatpants. [via National Center for Missing and Exploited Children]
The search continues for 4-year-old Orrin and 3-year-old Orson West. Authorities said the brothers vanished from the home of their adoptive parents in California City, California on December 21.
KGET reports the children were adopted by 31-year-old Jacqueline West and 34-year-old Trezell West after the children were placed in their care through the foster program.
Jacqueline reportedly said she was wrapping Christmas presents around 4 p.m. that day when she let the children go around back to play on the patio with chalk. Trezell claims he went out to get wood for a fire, walked past the brothers, and went back inside. Soon after, Trezell claims he went back outside and the boys were gone. He says he realized he may have left the gate open. Police were called just before 6 p.m., according to reports.
Searches took place through the area that night, but California City Chief of Police Jon Walker, who was leading the investigation at the time, said, “What I do truly believe: That night there’s no way that they could have got out of that neighborhood without some sort of assistance from an adult.” K9’s were reportedly sent inside to track the children’s scent, but the chief added the dogs did not “smell the children leaving the house.”
At the beginning of the investigation, investigators dug up the backyard, searched the town and nearby desert, but didn’t reveal any new information regarding the children’s whereabouts.
“Those are our babies and we want them back,” said Trezell West to KGET.
After countless searches and following up on many tips, in early March 2021, the FBI and Bakersfield Police announced they are now leading the investigative effort. Police Chief Gregory Terry said his department, which is located 76 miles east from where the boys vanished, has been involved since the start of the investigation. Terry added that it “made sense” to take the lead role. His department is continuing to work diligently to figure out what happened to these children.
Less than two weeks after the announcement, on March 12, investigators executed a search warrant at a home in East Bakersfield related to this case.. According to an update on the Bakersfield Police Department Facebook page, “This information is being provided in response to numerous media inquiries regarding the facts and circumstances of the search. Search warrants are a normal investigative tool used in all types of investigations, and a standard investigative/legal measure to protect the rights of persons,” the post adds. KGET reports the warrant was at the home of the brothers’ adoptive grandparents.
BPD says a neighbor’s camera captured footage of the West’s side yard the night the boys disappeared, and the video corroborates with Trezell’s story. Police added that the adoptive grandmother was the last person besides the adoptive parents to have seen the boys.
The last time Trezell and Jacqueline West have spoken publicly or given any update on the missing boys was December 23. Not long after, they left their house in California City and police say they now live in Bakersfield.
Since their move, someone threw a rock through a window at the California City home. Another person hung a large sign over the porch asking, “Where are the boys?”
Reports say Jacqueline and Trezell have six children and four of the six are adopted. California City officials confirmed the other four kids were taken into foster care, where they will stay until a court case is settled.
The West’s extended family has released three statements over the past few months. According to those statements, the family is offering a $30,000 reward for anyone with information leading to the boys. Other statements asked for the community to stop attacking their family, and most recently, Trezell’s mother has pleaded for help bringing her grandsons home.
A spokesperson for CPS told KGET in March that there will also be a court case to determine “whether or not [Orrin and Orson] can or should be returned to their adoptive parents.”
#MISSING Alert Update!— NCMEC (@MissingKids) December 22, 2020
4-year-old Orrin and 3-year-old Orson were last seen on December 21, 2020 in California City, #California They were both last seen wearing black sweeatshirts and gray sweatpants. pic.twitter.com/Orfbrra50Q
Orrin and Orson’s biological mother, Ryan Dean and extended family members have held several vigils and search parties, in addition to raising awareness through social media and banners.
“It’s hard but we have to stay strong for the parents, the mother and them,” the biological cousin of the brothers, Rosanna Wills, told KGET. “The community’s been doing their part in a major way. Without them, we’d be lost.”
Dean said she lost her children to the state when Orrin was injured and she took him to the hospital for a broken thigh bone. Dean said she doesn’t know how the injury occurred, but CPS placed the boys in foster care, and she hasn’t seen them since 2018.
“I have a good background. I don’t have a police record, never been in jail,” Dean said to KGET.
The biological family raised money to put up three billboards in Bakersfield seeking information on the children’s disappearance. Another two people, unrelated to the family, paid to put up three more billboards throughout Kern County.
“Their faces shouldn’t be on a billboard at all,” Diondra Key, from the biological family, said to KGET. “They should be with their family.”
Chief Terry said at this point, “everyone is being looked at” and no suspects have been named in this case. They will continue to explore all possibilities.
If you know anything about the disappearance of these two brothers, please contact Kern Secret Witness at (661) 322-4040 or the Bakersfield Police Department at (661) 327-7111.