TIMELINE: California City boys Orson and Orrin West remain missing 9 months later

Local News

California City, Calif. (KGET) — It’s been more than two months since two young boys disappeared in this desert community, the mystery of what happened deepening as each day passes without a clue as to their whereabouts.

As of Feb. 3, police had not named any suspects in their disappearance. Both local and federal authorities are involved. Few details have been released.

While many questions remain unanswered as the search continues for brothers Orson West, 3, and Orrin West, 4, there are some things that have been confirmed through law enforcement and family.

Details made public are contained in the following timeline:

Dec. 22, 17 News at Sunrise

  • Monday, early evening — Orson and Orrin play outside as their adoptive father gathers firewood, according to their adoptive parents. The father, Trezell West, later tells the media he briefly went back inside the house, and when he came out the boys were gone. He says he drove through nearby streets and spoke with neighbors but couldn’t find them.
  • Monday, around 6 p.m. — The boys’ adoptive parents report them missing.
  • Monday, around 8 p.m. — California City police send out a news release that provides a description of the boys but not their names or photographs. That information is released hours later.
  • Monday night — Volunteers and police search areas near where the boys went missing. Police bring K9s to the home. The dogs find the boys’ scent inside the house, but not outdoors.
  • Tuesday, around 9 a.m. — With daylight, volunteers continue the search and spread through the surrounding area. They find nothing.
  • Tuesday afternoon — Police take the adoptive parents in for further questioning.

Dec. 22, 17 News at 5

  • Tuesday night — Armed with a search warrant, investigators go through the home and leave with evidence collected in several brown bags and a duffel bag. The adoptive parents’ van is towed to be searched. Police tell 17 News the FBI is involved and agents questioned the adoptive parents. Police say the parents are cooperating.

Dec. 22, 17 News at 6

  • Wednesday afternoon — The adoptive parents speak with media. Trezell and Jaqueline West say they were told by police Monday to stay in their home during the search. Trezell West explains how the boys went missing, and the couple say they fostered the boys in 2018 then adopted them in 2019. They say they have two other adopted children and two biological children, all of whom have been removed from the home since the investigation began. The couple say their cellphones and other technological devices were seized by police.
  • Wednesday afternoon — Police search the home again.

Dec. 23, 17 News at 5

  • Wednesday — The boys’ adoptive parents, Trezell and Jacqueline West, discuss the case with the media.
  • Wednesday night — Investigators work under bright lights set up in the family’s backyard. It’s unclear what, if any, evidence was found.

Dec. 24, 17 News at Noon

Dec. 29

  • California City Police Chief John Walker tells the media foul play is suspected and nothing was found when investigator’s dug up the west family backyard.

Jan. 2

  • The extended family of the missing boys issue a statement expressing their hopes for the boys’ safe return, that they are cooperating with authorities and have involved a team of private investigators. The statement said family members had been advised to avoid the public because of the intensity and amount of threats they had received. The West home in California City has been targeted by rocks, and attempted break-ins according to the statement.

Jan. 4

  • Businesses offer a total of $25,000 to anyone who can find the boys.

Jan. 17

  • Reward money rises to $100,000 for anyone with information leading to the boys’ whereabouts. The money has been donated by businesses, churches, the adoptive family and the city.

Jan. 25

  • The California City Police Department is asking for residents to report anyone seen trespassing at the home of missing Orrin and Orson West’s adoptive parents. A candlelight vigil was held outside the boys’ home Monday evening, with those participating praying for their safe return.

Jan. 31

  • After 41 days, there are still very few leads in the disappearances of Orrin and Orson West, according to the California City Police Department.

Feb. 1

  • California City police and federal agents revisited the home of the Orson boys’ adoptive parents this Monday morning with special equipment that sends a signal into the ground to see if there is anything underneath. Nothing was found during the visit, according to police.
Photo by Jamie White

Feb. 2

A candlelight prayer was held outside the home in Bakersfield where the boys lived before they were adopted.

Feb. 14

The biological family of Orson and Orrin West said it was raising money to put up more billboards about the missing boys.

Feb. 19

Protesters gathered outside the Department of Human Services building in a rally to continue raising awareness of the case.

Feb. 21

Online groups from across the country and overseas have formed online communities tracking the case and sharing information.

Feb. 22

17 News’ Perla Shaheen provided a summary of the case.

March 1

The Bakersfield Police Department becomes the lead agency investigation the boys’ disappearance.

March 3

Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Terry discusses the case with 17 News.

March 6

Bakersfield police and personnel from other agencies searched a field in the area of Cottonwood and East Pacheco roads in connection with the investigation. The boys were not found, and police said they could not say what led them to the field because they need to preserve the integrity of the investigation.

March 8

Speculation about what happened to the boys has resulted in online arguments and finger-pointing, and the arrest of a man on misdemeanor warrants after he had a confrontation with a neighbor.

March 9

A group that follows cases involving child victims has paid for two billboards in Wichita, Kan., asking for information regarding the missing boys.

March 15

The Bakersfield Police Department confirmed that it served a search warrant March 12 at the home of Orrin and Orson West’s adoptive grandmother as part of its investigation into their disappearance.

The department did not provide any additional information about the warrant, saying that “limited information is being provided to protect the integrity of the investigation and ultimately safeguard any facts from being tainted. The public is strongly discouraged from making assumptions of guilt and dissemination of rumor and speculation.”

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