CALIFORNIA CITY, Calif. – The adoptive parents of two young California boys, who went missing in 2020, have been charged with murdering children, although their bodies have not been found, authorities said Wednesday.

Trezel West and Jacqueline West were arrested Tuesday night on charges of murder and other charges made by a grand jury, Kern County Attorney Cynthia Zimmer told a news conference in Bakersfield.

On December 21, 2020, 4-year-old Arin West and his brother Orsan, 3, went missing in the backyard of their family in the desert city of California City. A huge search conducted by law enforcement and community members could not be found.

on the topic: The search for the missing California babies, who disappeared a few days before Christmas, continues

“I am sad to report this morning that the investigation has revealed that Orin and Orsan West have died,” Timer said. “The investigation also revealed that they died three months before the adoptive parents announced their disappearance.”

The district attorney said she was not allowed to disclose the facts to the court.

The grand jury heard the testimony of 50 witnesses in three months.

Zimmer said a combination of direct and indirect evidence was presented and the grand jury was convinced the boys were killed.

“I want to emphasize that the fact that law enforcement agencies did not find their bodies does not preclude criminal prosecution for the murder,” Zimmer said. “In fact, the United States is successfully prosecuting many, hundreds of what we call nobody’s murders.”

Both parents were detained without bail on two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of willful misconduct against a child and false reporting of an emergency.

The indictment was scheduled for Thursday at the Kern County Supreme Court. Zimmer said it was not yet known who the couple’s lawyers would be.

The family has four more children, two of whom are also adopted, and all are in custody, Timer said.

Zimmer said that a week after the boys reported the disappearance, “important information came to light” that led to police involvement in Bakersfield, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) west of California City.

The prosecutor’s office did not report anything. But it is known that the family lived in Bakersfield before moving to California in September 2020.

Asked if Orin and Orsan had ever been to California, Timer replied that “we will answer this during the trial.”

Police and FBI agents searched a field in Bakersfield in March 2021, but the results of those efforts were not revealed.

“Now we understand that the search for the boys began after the real tragedy had already taken place. … This is not a solution in this case, and there will be no complete solution in this case until these boys are brought home, ”Bakersfield was told by Police Chief Greg Terry.

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