BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The eldest son of Trezell and Jacqueline West said he knew his brother Orrin had died.
“I touched his body and it was cold,” the boy says in an interview recorded Dec. 28, 2020, a week after Orrin, 4, and Orson, 3, were reported missing by adoptive parents Trezell and Jacqueline West.
That remark prompted gasps and sniffles in the audience as the video played Tuesday morning, the 15th day of the Wests’ trial. The couple are charged with murder and other crimes in the deaths of Orrin and Orson, whose bodies have not been found.
In the video, the boy, then 10, says Orrin died about a week before the family moved from Bakersfield to California City. The move happened in September 2020.
Click here for live tweets from the morning session, and here for live tweets from the afternoon session.
His parents asked him if they should call an ambulance, the boy says, and he said no because they told him he and the other children would be taken away. He says he agreed not to tell the other children what happened. The Wests had six children in total, two biological and four adopted.
In the video, the boy says he doesn’t know what his parents did with Orrin’s body. He says Orson left about four days after they moved. He says his parents told him Orson went to their grandmother’s house. He says he never saw him again.
While he appeared confident about what happened in the video, the boy at first appeared less sure on the witness stand. Now 12, he said “I’m not sure” or “I don’t remember” to many of the questions asked by prosecutor Eric Smith before the video was played.
Afterward, however, he repeatedly said Orrin had died, Orson left and, despite more than an hour of cross-examination, maintained the boys hadn’t been seen for a long time. He testified one night at the California City home he heard a noise in the hallway, like a soap bottle falling.
The next day, Orson was gone, he said.
The night before Orrin he saw Orrin dead, the boy says in the video, his parents chopped up Orrin’s food in a blender then put it in a bottle. He says his parents did this when preparing Orrin’s food because the child chewed with his mouth open.
Orrin drank the bottle, then stole a drink from Orson, according to the boy’s interview. He says his parents told Orson to punch Orrin but he didn’t see whether Orson hit him.
They went to bed, the boy says in the recording, and in the night he heard noises but didn’t think anything of it because Orrin and Orson always made noises when they slept. The next morning Orrin was face down on his mattress.
He says he left the room, not yet knowing what happened. He came back and his parents were crying and he saw Orrin had vomited and his color was “fading,” the boy says in the interview.
The boy says he promised to keep Orrin’s death a secret from the other children. They left Casa Loma Apartments on Lotus Lane and moved into the house on Aspen Avenue in California City.
A few days later Orson was gone, the boy says. His parents removed Orson while he was sleeping, he says. One morning he woke up and Orson wasn’t there. He says his parents told him Orson was sent to Jacqueline West’s mother.