Two boys were reported missing from their California City residence on the evening of December 21, 2020.
Their adoptive father, Trezol West said, "I saw them there, [I] went in the house, I came back out, I didn't see them." He had been gathering firewood and said, "I realized that I left the gate opened, and I panicked, came inside the house, searched the house, me and my wife."
After searching the house, the yard, and the immediate area, Trezol and his wife, Jacqueline West who had been wrapping presents at the time of the reported disappearance, searched the neighborhood in their vehicle.
"I came home and I told my wife, 'We need to call the cops,'" Trezol said to KGET. "It's getting dark and I need help, we've gotta get going."
The brothers, 3-year-old Orson West and 4-year-old Orrin West have not been seen since.
Since the investigation began, over 2,000 tips have been provided to the California City Police Department and involved agencies. None of the tips that have been reported have proven to be credible.
"The most bizarre [tip] recently, is that we need to look at our chief because he's hiding the boys," Geri Angell, dispatcher with the CCPD told ABC 23 out of Bakersfield.
The department had initially been receiving between 20 and 40 tips daily, but that number has diminished to between 5 and 10 a day.
More than 10 of the tips alleged that the boys had been buried somewhere and provided a location. Each of those claims were thoroughly investigated and proven to be false.
Just the same, investigators are still asking that anyone with information about the whereabouts of the boys contact them at (760) 373-8606. They are hoping that the increased reward will serve as added incentive.
Numerous entities and individuals have contributed funds to the reward, increasing it to $120,000. Some of those funds though, namely $25,000 which was contributed by California City, is set to expire at midnight on February 23 if not claimed according to the Antelope Valley Press. Extended family of the adoptive parents have contributed $30,000 of the reward money.
California City Police Chief Jon Walker has stated that the adoptive parents are not only cooperating with investigators. They voluntarily went in for an interview and have been staying in Bakersfield, outside of the residence, to assist with the investigation.
Investigators at this time believe that the children were abducted and have stated that the adoptive parents are not suspected, though at the same time Walker stated, "We have not ruled anyone out."
The West family had four other children in the home at the time that Orson and Orrin went missing. Two of those children were biological and the other two were adopted and siblings of Orson and Orrin. The four siblings were adopted in April 2019 after the state took away the biological mother's parental rights and the fathers collectively surrendered their rights.
All four have been removed and are in protective custody through Child Protective Services.
"In child protective services, protective custody means they're placed in a foster home," Jana Slagle, a spokeswoman with the Department of Human Services in Kern County told KGET. "They're removed from their family with the allegation of abuse or neglect, and placed in a foster home."
On January 3, the West family issued a statement explaining their efforts not only assisting with the official investigation, but also to find the boys through the employment of a private investigator, and addressed why the family had been avoiding speaking with the media and not physically assisting in search efforts.
They explained that "in less than 24 hours of the disappearance of the boys our extended family started receiving threats of physical violence including death threats. Family members who live thousands of miles away have also received those same threats. We were advised appropriately to avoid public spaces and crowds given the immediacy and intensity of these threats."
"Our priority is to find out where our boys are and their safe return. The truth has to and will come to light."