Pocketknives, a machete, an ax, and drugs: These are some of the items Stockton police found in the car where the Weddles family was living when their 10-month-old twins disappeared in January 2018.
Aaron Weddles, 42, and Princess Dara Canez Walker, 33, were accused of neglecting and abusing their children, and killing the missing twins, The Bee previously reported.
Wednesday, the couple pleaded guilty to eight counts of child endangerment, the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office said in a press release. While the twins are still missing, the office dismissed charges of murder due to insufficient evidence. The couple was sentenced to 15 years and four months in state prison, according to the release.
The family — consisting of the couple and eight children — was reported missing on Jan. 4, 2018, The Bee reported.
Weddles and Walker were found five days later in the weapon- and drug-filled vehicle with their 4-year-old daughter and their eldest twins, then just 2 years old. Their youngest — a girl, Setina Weddles, and a boy, Ren Weddles — could not be found.
Stockton police detained the couple on Jan. 8, 2018, while the three children in the vehicle were taken into protective custody.
Stockton police offered a reward of $100,000 for information leading to the missing twins, releasing two pictures of the girl, Setina, dated back to 2016. However, the twins were never found.
“(E)fforts over the last 20 months to locate the children by law enforcement have so far been unsuccessful,” the District Attorney’s Office said in the release, and “there is insufficient evidence to prove that a death occurred, that the death was by homicide, and that the Defendants are the perpetrators.”
Local law enforcement agencies said they continue to plead for information from the public to help locate the children.
The office may be able to prosecute Weddles and Walker in absence of the twins’ bodies if they can prove they were deliberately killed.
“The loss of these two precious children is a tragedy and should have never happened. As a community we are each responsible to stand up and protect our children, together we can ensure their safety by reporting incidents and giving a voice to those who need us most,” the release said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Stockton police Department at 209-937-8377 or Crime Stoppers at 209-946-0600. Tipsters can also submit an anonymous tip on the Stockton police mobile phone app.