BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) – After being missing for more than a year, Orrin and Orson West, who were first reported missing in December 2020 in California City, are believed to be dead. And the timeline of their disappearance is not what was originally reported.
The Bakersfield Police Department arrested the adoptive parents around Tuesday evening. They are currently being held without bail in the Kern County Jail. On Wednesday morning, the Kern County prosecutor provided an update on the case.
The case has touched the hearts of the community since the very beginning 14 months ago. At Wednesday’s press conference, Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer confirmed what many feared. The inquest found the boys were murdered in September, three months before adoptive parents Trezell and Jacqueline West called to report them missing.
“The inquest found that Orrin and Orson West are deceased. The inquest also found that they died three months before their adoptive parents reported them missing.
Bakersfield Police Department Chief Greg Terry said: “We now realize the search for the boys began after the real tragedy happened.”
Zimmer said a grand jury trial began last December, a year after their disappearance, in which more than 50 witnesses testified and charged the adoptive parents over three months.
“The Kern County Grand Jury has indicted Trezell and Jacqueline West, the adoptive parents of the murders of Orrin and Orson West,” she announced.
In total, the two adoptive parents were arrested on two counts of second degree murder and two counts of cruelty to a child, one for each child, and a false emergency report.
“Naturally the first two counts get the most time in state prison, murder. He’s charged with second degree murder which carries 15 years to life, but with two victims, the potential sentence or sentence maximum possible if convicted is 30 years to life,” Zimmer explained.
Court documents show that Trezell and Jacqueline West committed a crime that “involved great violence, threat of grievous bodily harm, or other acts indicative of a high degree of cruelty, viciousness, or callousness, within the meaning of the rules of California procedure”.
The documents also state that the adoptive parents “incited others to participate in the commission of the crime or occupied a position of leadership or dominance over other participants in its commission”, and allege that there was planning. . However, when asked, Zimmer could not confirm whether others should also be charged.
Since the beginning of this affair, the community has been asking the question: “Where are the boys? This question is still unanswered.
“Have the bodies of Orrin and Orson been found?” And the answer is no, they were not found, however, I want to emphasize that the fact that law enforcement did not find their bodies does not preclude a murder prosecution,” Zimmer said. .
She added that there have been many so-called “bodiless” homicides successfully prosecuted, including in Kern County.
Count 5 deals with false reporting of an emergency.
Last year, during initial coverage of this case, KERO-TV heard from the adoptive parents. They were asked for their response after being blamed for the boys’ disappearance.
” It’s understandable. I would think the same. That’s exactly the point, and we could find our babies and guess what, nope, and that’s all I want is to find our babies. That’s it,” Trezell West said.
Now that officials believe the boys died three months before they went missing, the question of whether they were ever in California City remains.
“That’s something we’re going to answer during the trial,” Zimmer said.
Trezell and Jacqueline are due in court Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m.
The California City Police Chief was also present at the presser and said his recently announced resignation had nothing to do with the case.
As the trial begins, the search for their bodies continues.
This story was originally published on March 2 by KERO in Bakersfield, an EW Scripps company.