Three Bakersfield mothers whose adult sons and a daughter went missing or were killed are asking Kern County Supervisors to fix the Secret Witness program. Jane Parrent’s daughter Baylee Despot disappeared in April, she told the Board Tuesday we’re losing tips because of broken website links or long call waits. “You’re put on hold for several minutes while a ‘qualified supervisor’ is found, and some cases, a person might just have 30 seconds, but they’re put on hold and they can’t give that tip.” The mothers of Micah Holsonbake and James Kulstad say DNA labs have been slow to test remains. An emotional Supervisor Leticia Perez pledged $10-thousand from her discretionary fund, and David Couch and other Board members also said they’d help. The women appeared during the public comment portion of the meeting and there was no action taken by Supervisors although there was general discussion of looking into the problems. The Secret Witness program is currently maintained by the Bakersfield Police Department, which switches with the Sheriff’s Office every two years.
Suzanne Grant/Kelli Pierce