BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Kern County Department of Human Services won’t release reports pertaining to California City boys Orrin and Orson West after prosecutors said their release could jeopardize criminal proceedings against the boys’ adoptive parents.
DHS senior paralegal Etta Sharp late Wednesday afternoon provided two one-page forms sent to the state Department of Social Services after law enforcement determined the boys died from abuse but said no further information would be released. The forms — one issued for each child — were completed July 12 and say the date of the boys’ deaths is unknown.
“Our agency received a communication (from the DA’s office) that indicated release of any emergency response referral information, any cross reports completed by the agency, risk and safety assessments, copies of any police reports, or any description of the services provided would jeopardize an ongoing criminal proceeding,” Sharp wrote.
Orrin, 4, and Orson, 3, were reported missing more than two years ago and are presumed dead but their bodies have not been found. Their adoptive parents, Trezell and Jacqueline West, are charged with second-degree murder, among other crimes, and their trial is scheduled to begin next week.
Earlier Wednesday, a Kern County judge found that reports generated from any prior contacts the Wests had with Child Protective Services were not subject to a gag order issued in the case.
The gag order bars attorneys, their investigators and law enforcement involved in the case from speaking publicly about it. It also applies to witnesses and court personnel with access to reports filed in the case.
Among the charges against the Wests is an allegation they induced a minor to assist in committing a crime, suggesting at least one of the Wests’ other children witnessed what happened and will be called to testify. Prosecutors have not said how the boys died, but said they were killed three months before they were reported missing.