The question we've all been asking the past year is "where are the boys?" But what about who they were?
2ABC's Kristin Vartan spoke to family members who shared their memories of Orrin and Orson West and what they're currently going through as they try to keep hope alive:
The question we've all been asking the past year is 'where are the boys?' But what about who they were?
2ABC's Kristin Vartan spoke to family members who shared their memories of Orrin and Orson West and what they're currently going through as they try to keep hope alive.
“I was changing his diaper and he was just staring at me. I asked him what he was staring at, and he just started screaming out of nowhere and started laughing,” Charles Pettus said. “It was funny.”
Charles Pettus is the biological father to classic, later named Orson West, but he’s reflecting on a moment with Cincere, later named Orrin. While orrin wasn’t his biological son, he was part of the family.
"I was happy that I had another baby, because it was just another part of me that I had to take care of,” Pettus said. “I didn't get to spend a lot of time with them before all this stuff happened and they came and took them away."
Pettus has held on to what little time he got with those two kids before they were put into foster care and eventually adopted.
“I try to stay strong for my brother but it’s hard. I get emotional,” Kiki Hoard, Orson’s biological aunt said. “It’s been a year. Some kind of answers. We deserve something. It’s only right. It’s only right.”
And then taken away again. Tuesday marked the anniversary that adoptive parents Jacqueline and Trezell West reported the brothers, missing.
Since then Pettus and Hoard’s biological cousin, Rosanna Wills told 23ABC there have been countless searches, monthly candlelight prayers, and unanswered questions.
“That’s the thing: There’s 125,000 dollars on the line. Nobody’s claimed it. Nobody’s spoken up. There’s so many tips. Nothing,” Wills said. “There’s so much support around the world. Nothing. We have all this and nothing?”
While 23ABC was unable to get ahold of the adoptive parents, this is what they told us in a previous interview about the boys and what they meant to them:
“All I want is to find our babies, that's it,” Trezell West said. “She trusted (the biological mother) us with her children and they are our children, and we want them back.”
The biological family told 23ABC that while there were events leading up to the boys being placed into the foster care system and eventually adopted, those events were misunderstandings and an "accident". Now, they have questions for the adoptive parents.
“If you’ve been following the case and you saw the pictures, you’d see they were happier at home than they were with them,” Hoard said. “And if they loved them, still to this day, could we get one updated picture? Something that’s going to show what they looked like when they had them? That’s all.”
Wills said the family refuses to give up the search until they find answers, and that their love for the boys and each other keeps them going.
“It’s been a year. 365 days,” Wills said. “Imagine going missing for a day."
“I still got them. They should know that I still love them, and will always have their backs, regardless of the fact,” Pettus said. “Those are my kids. That’s something you will miss in life that you will never get back.”