CALIFORNIA CITY — Another company contributed to the increased reward for information on the return of two boys who went missing on Dec. 21 to a combined $120,000.
Orson West, 3, and Orrin West, 4, were reported missing by their California City home in the 10700 block of Aspen Avenue the night of Dec. 21. According to their adoptive father, Trezell West, the two brothers were missing after last seen playing in the back yard. He had reported that he had gone inside after gathering firewood, only to return to find them missing.
According to City Manager Anna Linn, cannabis company Traditional Co. has pledged $20,000 for the return of the boy. The amount follows what others have already contributed, including the city itself.
To date, Preferred Towing and GreenStone Cannabis Dispensary, owned by Rick Jones, have pledged $10,000 each. Murphy's Pool and Spa has offered $5,000. The extended adoptive family has offered $30,000.
California City has offered $25,000, with the stipulation that information leads to the arrest and conviction of the person/persons responsible for the boys' disappearance. Ron and Kim Smith have offered $10,000 through Victory Baptist Church for "information to bring the boys home," with another $10,000 from West Coast Realty for the same conditions.
The two boys have been missing for over seven weeks, with California City Police Department still actively investigating their disappearance with the assistance of the Bakersfield Police Department, the FBI and Kern County District Attorney's Office.
According to CCPD, more than 2,500 tips have come in regarding the boys, but none have turned up any location. Authorities have conducted numerous searches in both Bakersfield and California City, including the home they reportedly went missing from on Dec. 21.
The adoptive parents, Trezell and Jacqueline West, were interviewed by authorities shortly after reporting the children were reported missing, with evidence collected from the home and the back yard excavated. The couple have four other children, who were taken into protective custody as part of standard procedure because Orrin and Orson disappeared while under the parents' care.
The most recent search was Feb. 1, in which CCPD and Bakersfield Police Department used ground penetrating radar on the property and adjacent lot. Nothing came of the search, according to CCPD.
California City Police Chief Jon Walker has consistently told media that his department continues to actively investigate the toddlers' disappearance, with the hope they can be found alive.
The West family adopted Orson and Orrin in 2019. In September 2020, they moved to California City.
Walker has also said that the police department will continue to accept information or tips, but has requested any callers provide specific information such as people to contact, exact locations and other information to help make searches more effective.
As of Feb. 6, no suspects or persons of interest have been named in the investigation.
If you have any information regarding this case call the Cal City Police at (760) 373-8606.
Extended adoptive family speaks out
The West boys' disappearance has garnered regional and national attention since they were reported missing.
So has alleged harassment and attacks on the extended adoptive family.
On Saturday, the story received national attention when ABC's "Good Morning America" exclusively interviewed members of the extended adoptive family.
Wanda West, adoptive grandmother of Orson and Orrin, told ABC that the adoptive parents, Trezell and Jacqueline are "really good parents." She also told ABC that people have stood outside their Bakersfield home demand to know "where are the boys?"
West noted that, like others, their family too is grieving over the disappearance of the two boys.
Jamal Watkins, brother of Trezzel West, issued a written statement on the West family's Medium.com page Saturday, Dec. 6 calling out the attacks on the extended family as the "true distraction" in the boys' disappearance.
"What has continued is the alarming number of threats of physical violence (including death threats), intentional harassment and misinformation being perpetuated by groups ... and other individuals," Watkins said in the statement. He added some of those individuals include those specifically named to law enforcement.
Watkins made it clear his statement was written on behalf of the extended family, not the parents.
The attacks and harassment have been ongoing since the boys vanished, Watkins stated. They have ranged from hurled insults and deliberately reported false information to stalking both adoptive grandmothers and " and even attacked one of the grandfathers — a disabled veteran — while he attempted a walk to the store." Watkins added people have damaged property, including the adoptive parents' home in California City.
"Many of these groups have made this not about finding the boys," he wrote. "This behavior being targeted towards the adoptive Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins of the missing boys is misguided at best because none of us are persons of interest or suspects in terms of the disappearance."
Watkins called for keeping the focus on the official search conducted by law enforcement and volunteers in California City and Bakersfield. He also asked people not to give to GoFundMe "schemes" that were reported to pop up, and instead offer up donations to official sources like CCPD or the city.
"For those who are leaning in, volunteering and providing value added support in the search for the boys we thank you," Watkins stated. "Law Enforcement has been really aggressive in the search and all of the agencies involved have really made the search a priority. We need their time, talent and resources to bring Orrin and Orson home safe."