A COUPLE accused of murdering their adopted boys wanted to live off the money they were given to take care of them, prosecutors have alleged in court.
Trezell and Jacqueline West reported kids Orson, four, and Orrin, three, missing in December 2020.
But, cops in Bakersfield, California, believe that the children died three months before they were reported missing.
Trezell and Jacqueline face murder charges and prosecutors have alleged that they adopted the two boys to live off the money that they were given for providing foster care.
Orson and Orrin were adopted by the couple in 2019.
Prosecutor Eric Smith has accused the couple of plotting the boys' deaths with an alleged co-conspirator who then carried out the killings, the local ABC affiliate KERO reported.
The Wests' defense team has claimed that the parents are being “punished” for “being different.”
Smith claimed that one child claimed that Orrin died in Bakersfield after his skin turned pale and vomiting.
Trezell and Jacqueline are believed to have lived in Bakersfield before relocating.
Smith claimed another child told officers that Orson died after living in California City for just four days.
He revealed that more than 50 witnesses had testified before a grand jury.
Trezell and Jacqueline reported the boys missing in 2020, sparking a widespread search effort.
He claimed he left the backyard gate open before noticing that the boys had disappeared when he returned.
Trezell told KERO at the time: “I came in the house, I saw them there. I go in the house, I came back, I didn’t see them here.”
He claimed he was gathering wood to start a fire amid the cold temperatures.
Trezell said Jacqueline was inside the house.
He added: “She was actually wrapping gifts so we thought it was a good idea that our youngest two go outside and play with chalk on the back patio.”
Trezell and Jacqueline frantically searched their home and looked up and down the street when they realized the boys had disappeared.
Law enforcement agencies and locals frantically searched for the children, but their bodies were not found.
Cops spent months searching for the boys after they were reported missing.
A Bakersfield police department spokesperson revealed that officers conducted more than 100 interviews and searched more than two dozen areas in California.
Jacqueline and Trezell were described as “cooperative” during the police investigation.
Cynthia Zimmer, the Kern County District Attorney, said in March last year that their probe revealed both Orrin and Orson were dead.
She said: “The investigation has also revealed that they died three months before their adoptive parents reported them missing.”
Zimmer revealed that “direct and circumstantial” evidence had led to the grand jury being convinced the kids were dead.
Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Terry said: “We now realize that the search for the boys began after the real tragedy had already occurred.”
Meanwhile, defense attorney Timothy Hennessy has described the accident as “tragic.”
He said: “This was a tragic accident, is what the evidence will show.”
Coroners ruled that the boys died as a result of abuse.
Trezell and Jacqueline have pleaded not guilty to two second-degree murder charges.
They have also pleaded not guilty to an involuntary manslaughter charge, willful cruelty to a child, conspiracy and falsely reporting an emergency in the toddlers’ death.
The Wests face life sentences if they are convicted of murder or conspiracy charges.
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