TWO boys allegedly killed in a double murder looked skinny and one had a bruised neck before they disappeared, their grandmother claims.
The revelations about toddlers Orson and Orrin West come after the boys' adoptive parents were arrested on Tuesday.
Trezell and Jacqueline West filed missing persons reports on December 21, 2020 in California City, claiming the boys were last seen playing in the backyard of their home.
"I knew something happened to them as soon as they were reported missing," the boys' biological grandmother Brenda Pettus exclusively told The Sun this week.
Despite massive searches in Southern California following their disappearance, investigators say the boys' bodies haven't been found.
"We’re trying to take it one day at a time," Pettus said of her family.
She told The Sun that Child Protective Services (CPS) took the brothers, aged 3 and 4, from their biological parents right after birth.
While her family waits for word from police on what's next in the investigation, Pettus is questioning what could've been done to avoid the tragedy.
"To CPS, they need to take the proper precautions and getting the right parents to take care of the children," she said.
"They don’t need to hand out children to any old people to get rid them. These are babies. They needed somewhere to stay but CPS doesn't care."
Some of her concerns stem from what she said appeared to be injuries to one of the boy's bodies.
"There was a bruise around the neck. Why didn’t CPS look into that?" Pettus said.
"Why didn’t they notice that. He looked skinny like he didn’t eat. There was a scar."
"It’s a baby, he can’t protect his little self."
Charles Pettus, Brenda's son and the biological father of Orson and Orrin, filed a lawsuit against Kern County and the state of California in late 2021.
He claimed in the lawsuit that Child Protective Services was negligent when they took his biological children away and placed them with a couple outside of friends and family.
The Wests, who adopted the boys, gave an interview after they vanished.
The couple said they scoured the neighborhood after noticing the boys were missing.
In a 2021 interview, Jacqueline West said: "Everybody's making their own conclusions. They don't know anything."
"It's difficult. We're going through it."
Their four other children, two adopted and two biological, were placed into protective custody, police said in the beginning of the investigation.
ADOPTIVE PARENTS CHARGED
A grand jury indicted the boys' adoptive parents this week, Kern District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer told reporters.
“This morning, I’m saddened to announce that the investigation has revealed that Orrin and Orson West are deceased,” she said.
“The investigation has also revealed that they died three months before their adoptive parents reported them missing.”
Investigators haven't released information about what led to the conclusion that the boys are no longer alive.
"They didn’t ask to come into this world to be treated like this," the boys' grandmother said.
"To be handed out to dogs, as a figurative of speech.
"I think they need to watch that system. It needs to be sharpened."
Police said the Wests were both charged on Tuesday with two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of willful cruelty to a child.
They also face one misdemeanor count of making a false report of an emergency and could spend 30 years to life in prison, the district attorney said.
Trezell and Jacqueline West both pleaded not guilty to the charges at a Thursday court hearing, KGET reported.
The judge ordered they be held without bail.
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