BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Were Orrin and Orson West murdered or are they merely missing? That is what the jury will be asked after Orrin and Orson West were reported missing in California City by their adoptive father, Trezell West, on December 21, 2020.

According to Prosecutor Eric Smith, the answer to that question of where the boys are is proven by evidence, this is a case of murder.

“Ultimately the answer to the question of where are the boys will be answered is that they’re dead and at the end of the case I will ask you to return a verdict of guilty beyond a reasonable doubt as to Jacqueline and Trezell for the murders of Orrin and Orson West,” Smith said.

The Wests were a family of eight, with four adopted children and two biological children. Smith told the jury that the West’s primary source of income was the $4,000 dollars total a month made from each child they adopted.

In the case of Orrin and Orson West, Smith told the jury the boys are dead and they didn’t die at the same time. According to Smith, one of West’s children said he witnessed one of the boys die and said the other later disappeared.

“Orson was in California City for about four days, at some point, Adrian heard a loud thud in the night, the day prior to hearing the thud Orson was there the day after Orson was gone and he hasn’t seen him since,” Smith said.

In each of the interviews with the other children who had lived with the brothers, each said the boys were at their home in California City but only for a short period of time.

However, Defense Attorney Timothy Hennessey says this is still a missing persons case and that the Wests want answers as to where their children are as any parents would.

“This was a tragic accident that’s what the evidence will show. They don’t have an answer for it because it was tragic, but instead, Trezell is here on a murder charge,” Hennessey said.

Hennessey told the jury that there are inconsistencies in the investigation and that evidence will show the couple’s innocence.

“The bottom line is Cal City out the gate never thought anybody would take two little Black boys that’s why the investigation will look the way it did,” Hennessey said.

According to District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer, there have been only a few cases in Kern County where a guilty conviction has been achieved with “no body” found.

However, Smith told the jury the evidence would prove the Wests are, in fact, guilty.

The trial is expected to continue in June and 17 News will have complete coverage as it continues.