CALIFORNIA CITY — California City Police Chief Jon Walker on Tuesday provided some details on the ongoing investigation into two missing boys who vanished from their home the night of Dec. 21.
Orrin and Orson West, ages 4 and 3, were reported missing by their adopted parents, Trezell and Jacquline West at 10717 Aspen Ave. at around 5:45 p.m. on Dec. 21.
Walker said during Tuesday’s news conference he could not go into many details due to it being an ongoing investigation. He confirmed CCPD doesn't have named suspects at this time.
“We've done several interviews since then and have had several agencies involved,” Walker said. “We've been working nonstop on this since Dec. 21.”
Four agencies are involved in the case, including Kern County Sheriff's Office and the FBI, though California City maintains the lead in the investigation. Walker said agencies are providing peripheral support including analyzing evidence.
Walker said he suspects foul play in the boys' disappearance.
“We have not been able to put together how the boys got out of the yard or where they've gone,” Walker said.
Hundreds of community members helped search the area that Monday night and the following Tuesday.
“There were literally hundreds of people looking and we truly appreciate that,” Walker said. “I think this whole community is invested in this … my department is invested in this to the point where we don't want to give up. We want to locate them any possible way we can.”
Trezell West, the adoptive father, on Dec. 23, told media that the boys had been sent out to the backyard to draw with chalk while their adoptive mother was wrapping presents. West was collecting wood for a fire from a nearby field to start a fire. When he returned from the house to the outside, he said the boys were missing and quickly began a search in the immediate area before calling CCPD to report them missing.
The disappearance of the two boys has drawn wider support from the local community. Residents and the boys' bilogical family have held candle vigils in front of the West home, held prayer vigils. Signs have gone up around town asking the question “Where are the boys?”
CCPD on Tuesday provided a search warrant to the adoptive parents and removed their white van from the parking lot of their home.
On Dec. 23, CCPD and other agencies searched began a hours-long examination of the back yard. According to Walker, the investigation turned up nothing. He added police dogs have not been able to find traces of the boys outside of the house.
“We were trying to dig up any possible thing of where they had gone and to confirm that they are not in the back yard,” Walker said.
Walker said the investigation will continue by continuing to evaluate collected evidence, conducting interviews of anyone considered a person of interest, gather as much “intel as possible until we come to a conclusion.”
Walker did state none of the neighbors have ever seen either boy since the family moved to California City in September.
Unmarked police cars continue to monitor the area for any suspicious activity and keep an eye on the house. Walker said the investigation has been a strain on his small department, including officers normally off coming in to help, including himself.
“They want to find these kids as much as any,” he said.
Walker said the investigation will continue to focus on the immediate vicinity unless new information leads them to search the larger desert area.
“It's been my experience, especially with small children, you always start from where they were seen last,” Walker said. “If we have enough information and evidence to expand out, we absolutely will.”
Walker did support community members efforts to search the surrounding area.
“I'm not going to close any doors,” Walker said. “Whatever is open, I'm willing to take.
The Wests' have four other children which were taken into protective custody as part of standard procedure, Walker said. However, he did not provide the ages or gender of the children.
“Until we determine one way or another what happened to the [missing] children, the other four children are taken out of the home,” Walker said, adding Children Services makes the final call on whether to return custody prior to the investigation's conclusion.
CCPD is still taking all information.
“We know the clock is ticking and I want to find the kids as much as anyone,” Walker said.
He added he believes someone has information and urged them to come forward.
“We've got two young babies out there and if someone or anyone has any idea where these kids are, we would truly appreciate it,” he said.
Anyone with information on the missing boys are asked to contact California City Police Department at 760-373-8606.