LOS ANGELES -- Authorities announced Wednesday that the parents of two California-based boys, who were reported missing in 2020, have been charged with murdering their children. However, they have not yet been found.
Jacqueline West and Trezell West were both arrested Tuesday night for murder and other charges, according to Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer at a Bakersfield news conference.
Orrin West (aged 4 and Orson West (3 years old) were reported missing from California City's desert town of California City, Dec. 21, 2020. They were not found despite a massive search by law enforcement agencies as well as community members.
Zimmer stated, "This morning I am saddened to report that Orrin West and Orson West have died." "The investigation also revealed that Orrin and Orson West died three months prior to their adoption parents reporting them missing," Zimmer said.
According to the district attorney, she was not allowed to disclose any facts until the trial.
Over three months, 50 witnesses testified to the grand jury.
Zimmer stated that a combination direct and circumstantial evidence was presented and that the grand jury was convinced the boys were dead.
Zimmer stated, "I want to stress that the fact that police have not located their bodies does not prevent a murder prosecution." "There have been hundreds of no-body murders that we have successfully prosecuted in the United States.
The parents were held without bail on two counts each of second-degree murder, willful cruelty to children and false reporting of an emergency.
Thursday's Arraignment was set for Kern County Superior Court. Zimmer stated that it will not be known until the court appearance who the attorneys of the couple are.
Zimmer stated that the family also has four additional children, two of which were adopted. All are currently in protective custody.
Trezell and Jacqueline begged for help when the boys were reported as missing.
Trezell stated that all he wanted was to find his babies. I searched many corners and searched until I found them. I finally called their names KGET, NBC affiliate from Bakersfield, Californiareported.
Zimmer stated that the police in Bakersfield (about 60 miles (97 km) west of California City) discovered crucial information about the missing boys a week later.
This information was not disclosed by the district attorney. It is known, however, that the family lived in Bakersfield until they moved to California City in September 2020.
Zimmer answered the question "that's something that we're going answer during trial" when Zimmer was asked if Orrin or Orson had ever been to California City.
In March 2021, FBI agents and police searched Bakersfield's field. However, the results were not disclosed.
"We now see that the search for the boys started after the true tragedy had already taken place. ... "This is not a solution in this case, and there will never be a complete resolution in this case until the boys are brought home," Bakersfield police chief Greg Terry stated.
The biological family of the boys wants to know the location of the bodies.
Rosanna Wills (Orrin's biological cousin), said to KGET, "The question now, is where are their bodies?" "We want them to come home so they can be properly buried."
Trezell and Jacqueline are being sent this message by her: "If they didn't do right, do right now. Tell us where they're at."