CALIFORNIA CITY — The amount of reward money for the location of the missing 3-year-old Orson and 4-year-old Orrin West increased to $100,000 Wednesday as both Victory Baptist Church and West Coast Realty offered $10,000 to the already established combined $80,000.
Residents Ron and Kim Smith are offering $10,000 through Victory Baptist Church, while the other $10,000 comes from West Coast Reality.
Ron Smith, Victory Baptist's pastor, said the reward came with the policy of "information resulting in bringing the boys home." The reward would be covered by the Smiths directly through the church.
"I hope that something helps to bring those boys home alive," Smith said, adding keeping the boys in the news continues to help. He added the reward offered by West Coast Reality comes with the same criteria as the church's.
Smith said he is "really grateful" for West Coast's support, adding the business and its owner Leland Krelle "have helped some of the kids that are going through tough times" in California City.
GreenStone Cannabis Dispensary and Preferred Towing, owned by Rick Smith, have offered $10,000 each for information leading to the finding of the two boys. Additionally, Murphy's Pools and Spas offered $5,000.
California City's city council approved a $25,000 amount for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in the boys' disappearance. The extended family of the boys' adopted parents on Monday, added $30,000 to the total amount.
Orson and Orrin were reported missing on Dec. 21 from their home int the 10700 block of Asepn Avenue by adoptive parents Trezell and Jacqueline West. The adoptive father reported they had been playing in the backyard while the mother was wrapping their Christmas presents and he was collecting wood from a nearby field for a fire.
Their disappearance caused a significant stir in California City, with several community searches launched both locally and in Bakersfield. California City Police Department have questioned the adoptive parents and collected evidence from their home. The FBI, Kern County Sheriff's Office and Bakersfield Police Department are also assisting the case.
However, no named suspects have been identified, according to CCPD.
In Jan. 13 interview with Bakersfield news station 23ABC, CCPD Chief Jon Walker said 50 personnel from multiple agencies searched Silver Saddle Ranch based on a tip from a resident. The compliment included California City police officers and KCSO's search and rescue team, who furnished a small boat.
"We're still looking and following up on tips, clues, anything that they can come up with," Walker said in that interview. He added he did not want to think of the search as a body recovery "because we don't have any information to prove that."
"Just because we can't find them doesn't mean their not alive," Walker said. "We really hope they are alive and they are safe."
Walker continued to suspect foul play in the boys' disappearance.
"For them to just disappear like that out of a back yard, I don't see a three and four year old just disappearing out of a back yard," Walker said during the TV interview.
Walker also urged that anyone who calls in with a tip to provide specific information.
"Who can we speak to, where can we look, that would help us tremendously," Walker said during the TV interview.
A San Diego-based private investigator, Bill Garcia, had also offered his services to find the boys. He was part of a community search at California City Central Park on Jan. 9 to find the boys. According to interviews, Garcia said that he had found a lead indicating the boys had been spotted at Tehachapi Albertson's in the company of a black adult female on Christmas Eve.
Walker, in Wednesday's interview with 23ABC, said he had checked with Tehachapi Police Department and TPD had not received that lead. He added while Garcia has the right to follow his own investigation, he cautioned that the private detective's team should tread carefully so as not to hinder an investigation.
Garcia's firm on Thursday issued a statement in response to Walker's comment with the intent to withdraw its efforts.
"Bill Garcia Investigative services has been providing pro bono investigations for missing and abducted children for twenty eight years and have never been accused of fabricating witness sightings or been threatened by law enforcement," Garcia's statement reads. "In any event, I am concluding our efforts and pray that officials will followup properly. Good karma to all."