California City, Calif. (KGET) — Brothers Orson and Orrin West have now been missing for a year, no word, no trace.
The boys went missing from the California City home of their adoptive parents. The biological family continues to organize monthly ‘community prayers’ as a way of keeping the names of the boys in the limelight and preventing their case from going cold with hopes of finding them once again.
It’s a case that has captured and captivated many in Kern County and across the nation.
The following is a timeline of public events in the case.
Almost one year after Orrin and Orson West went missing, the community held a toy drive in their honor.
Ten months later, the boys remain missing. Orrin and Orson West’s biological father spoke with 17 News about his experience dealing with the boys’ disappearance. And the community held a prayer vigil.
The boys have been missing for nine months. The community has been holding monthly prayer events for them.
Two-hundred days after Orrin and Orson West were reported missing, the Bakersfield Police Department gives 17 News an update on the case.
BPD releases new information on the case. Forty-four search warrants have been served, 83 people interviewed and 170 items seized in the investigation into the disappearance of two California City toddlers, Bakersfield police said Tuesday.
The boys have missing for four months. The Bakersfield Police Department has not reported any new developments but say they have not given up the search. The activists that have gotten involved with the search themselves continue to hope for a happy ending to this story.
Bakersfield Police Department Public Information Officer Sergeant Robert Pair joined 17 News at Sunrise to discuss the disappearance of 4-year-old Orrin and 3-year-old Orson West in California City. They were reported missing 100 days ago.
The mayor of Bakersfield released a video message Monday afternoon, discussing the investigation to find 4-year-old Orrin and 3-year-old Orson West.
Wanda West, the adoptive grandma of Orrin and Orson West, released a statement asking the community to continue searching for her grandsons. She writes about losing Orrin and Orson, but also her other four grandsons, when Child Protective Services took them in protective custody. West pleads with the community to continue the search for Orrin and Orson.
She wrote: “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 reward for information leading to missing California City boys Orrin and Orson West now stands at $125,000.
That’s an increase of $2,000 from the previous amount, the new money coming from another $1,000 through the Youtube channel of Ron Licciardi, and $1,000 from Bakersfield resident Jennifer Nobles.
The Bakersfield Police Department confirmed that it served a search warrant March 12 at the home of Orrin and Orson West’s adoptive grandmother as part of its investigation into their disappearance.
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.”
A group that follows cases involving child victims has paid for two billboards in Wichita, Kan., asking for information regarding the missing boys.
Speculation about what happened to the boys has resulted in online arguments and finger-pointing, and the arrest of a man on misdemeanor warrants after he had a confrontation with a neighbor.
Bakersfield police and personnel from other agencies searched a field in the area of Cottonwood and East Pacheco roads in connection with the investigation. 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.
Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Terry discusses the case with 17 News.
The Bakersfield Police Department becomes the lead agency investigation the boys’ disappearance.
Online groups from across the country and overseas have formed online communities tracking the case and sharing information.
Protesters gathered outside the Department of Human Services building in a rally to continue raising awareness of the case.
The biological family of Orson and Orrin West said it was raising money to put up more billboards about the missing boys.
A candlelight prayer was held outside the home in Bakersfield where the boys lived before they were adopted.
- California City police and federal agents revisited the home of the Orson boys’ adoptive parents this Monday morning with special equipment that sends a signal into the ground to see if there is anything underneath. Nothing was found during the visit, according to police.
- The California City Police Department is asking for residents to report anyone seen trespassing at the home of missing Orrin and Orson West’s adoptive parents. A candlelight vigil was held outside the boys’ home Monday evening, with those participating praying for their safe return.
- Reward money rises to $100,000 for anyone with information leading to the boys’ whereabouts. The money has been donated by businesses, churches, the adoptive family and the city.
- Businesses offer a total of $25,000 to anyone who can find the boys.
- The extended family of the missing boys issue a statement expressing their hopes for the boys’ safe return, that they are cooperating with authorities and have involved a team of private investigators. The statement said family members had been advised to avoid the public because of the intensity and amount of threats they had received. The West home in California City has been targeted by rocks, and attempted break-ins according to the statement.
- California City Police Chief John Walker tells the media foul play is suspected and nothing was found when investigator’s dug up the west family backyard.
Dec. 23, 17 News at 5
- Wednesday — The boys’ adoptive parents, Trezell and Jacqueline West, discuss the case with the media.
- Wednesday night — Investigators work under bright lights set up in the family’s backyard. It’s unclear what, if any, evidence was found.
Dec. 22, 17 News at 6
- Wednesday afternoon — The adoptive parents speak with media. Trezell and Jaqueline West say they were told by police Monday to stay in their home during the search. Trezell West explains how the boys went missing, and the couple say they fostered the boys in 2018 then adopted them in 2019. They say they have two other adopted children and two biological children, all of whom have been removed from the home since the investigation began. The couple say their cellphones and other technological devices were seized by police.
- Wednesday afternoon — Police search the home again.
Dec. 22, 17 News at 5
- Tuesday night — Armed with a search warrant, investigators go through the home and leave with evidence collected in several brown bags and a duffel bag. The adoptive parents’ van is towed to be searched. Police tell 17 News the FBI is involved and agents questioned the adoptive parents. Police say the parents are cooperating.
Dec. 22, 17 News at Sunrise
- Monday, early evening — Orson and Orrin play outside as their adoptive father gathers firewood, according to their adoptive parents. The father, Trezell West, later tells the media he briefly went back inside the house, and when he came out the boys were gone. He says he drove through nearby streets and spoke with neighbors but couldn’t find them.
- Monday, around 6 p.m. — The boys’ adoptive parents report them missing.
- Monday, around 8 p.m. — California City police send out a news release that provides a description of the boys but not their names or photographs. That information is released hours later.
- Monday night — Volunteers and police search areas near where the boys went missing. Police bring K9s to the home. The dogs find the boys’ scent inside the house, but not outdoors.
- Tuesday, around 9 a.m. — With daylight, volunteers continue the search and spread through the surrounding area. They find nothing.
- Tuesday afternoon — Police take the adoptive parents in for further questioning.