Cops: Adoptive Parents Murdered Missing Boys

Orson and Orrin West were reported missing in 2020
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 30, 2020 6:59 PM CST
Updated Mar 3, 2022 2:40 AM CST
Foul Play Suspected in Case of Missing Boys
This photo shows photos displayed of Orrin West and Orson West prior to a news conference by Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer to discuss recent developments in the case involving the two brothers on Wednesday, March 2, 2022 in Bakersfield, Calif.   (Kern County District Attorney's Office via AP)

Update: The adoptive parents of two California boys who went missing in 2020 and have never been found are now charged with the boys' murders. Though the bodies of Orrin West, 4, and his brother Orson, 3, remain missing, the Kern County DA announced Wednesday that an investigation revealed they are dead, and in fact died three months before their parents reported them missing, the AP reports. Trezell West and Jacqueline West are charged with second-degree murder, willful cruelty to a child, and false report of an emergency; their four other children, two of them also adopted, are in protective custody. Our original story from Dec. 30, 2020, follows:

Authorities in California City suspect foul play in the case of two young boys who reportedly vanished from their backyard four days before Christmas, the Mojave Desert News reports. Orson and Orrin West, ages 3 and 4, were reported missing Dec. 21 by their adoptive parents, Trezell and Jacqueline West. Trezell West tells KGET that the boys were playing on the back porch the last time he saw them. “I came in the house,” he says. “I saw them there, went into the house, came back out, didn’t see them there.” The parents say they searched the neighborhood for the boys without success and then called the police. Since then, the FBI and other agencies have reportedly become involved in the investigation. Police have not yet named a suspect in the case.

In a Tuesday press conference, however, Police Chief Jon Walker said, “I do suspect foul play,” per the Desert News, adding, “I can’t comment on that, whether I think they’re alive or not. We have not been able to put together how the boys got out of the yard or where they've gone.” He also told reporters that neighbors have not seen Orson or Orrin since the West family moved to California City, located about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles, in September. The boys were adopted in 2019, according to reports. Their biological mother, Ryan Dean, tells 23ABC that she suspects the adoptive parents are involved in their disappearance. "They did something, I feel like they did something and they know something,” she says. The West’s four other children have reportedly been taken into protective custody. (More disappearance stories.)

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