Adoptive Parents of 2 California Toddlers Missing More Than a Year Are Charged With Murder


Orson and Orrin were 3 and 4 when they went missing and still have yet to be found.

The adoptive parents of two California boys have been charged with murder more than a year after the children were last seen alive. 

Trezell and Jacqueline West were both arrested Tuesday in Bakersfield and have been charged with second-degree murder and child cruelty charges, according to Kern County Superior Court. They are being held without bail.

The parents had claimed that the two brothers, Orson and Orrin, ages 3 and 4 at the time, disappeared from their backyard on Dec. 21, 2020.

The boys have never been found, despite multiple searches and the help of the community. 

California City Police Chief Jon Walker said during a press conference on Dec. 28, 2020 that he suspected foul play in the case, but months went by with no leads.

In March 2021, the Bakersfield Police Department became the lead investigators in the case. Investigators there received help from the FBI, Kern County District Attorney’s Office, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and community groups.

It’s not clear what exactly led to the arrest of the boys’ adoptive parents. 

A woman who said she was Orson’s cousin, Rosanna Wills, told Bakersfield Now that she’s devastated at the news.

"Anger, sadness, confused, why?" Wills said. "Like why would you hurt two babies? It don't make no sense and it's a lot of emotions going on right now. Now, it's like, where are the boys? Like, what did you guys do with them and when did you guys really hurt these babies before you reported them missing?"

The couple was scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

The biological father of Orson and Orrin, Charles Pettus, has also filed a lawsuit against Kern County and the state of California, saying that CPS placed the boys “negligently and wrongfully” with people outside of friends and family.

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