Where is Oakley Carlson? Search amps up for missing 5-year-old as parents remain uncooperative

Wednesday marks the second of a massive search for 5-year-old Oakley Carlson. 

Neighbors said they had not seen Oakley in quite some time. One neighbor said they noticed the school bus had stopped coming around. According to the Grays Harbor Undersheriff, a concerned citizen called in a welfare check, which led to her being reported missing.

On Dec. 8, the search was centered around her home in Oakville. The Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office says Oakley’s parents, Jordan Bowers and Andrew Carlson, remain uncooperative about the little girl’s whereabouts and the time frame of when she went missing.

Around seven different agencies are working on the case. Crews were back on the property on Wednesday, canvassing and digging around the 300 acres that come with the home.

While the search goes on, it’s heartache and anger for those who love Oakley.

"It’s hard to find time to be sad when I am so angry," Jamie Jo Hiles said, Oakley's former foster parent. 

Jamie Jo and Erik Hiles were both Oakley’s foster parents and had her for almost three years before the state and the courts decided to give Oakley back to her biological parents in 2019.

Now those parents, Bowers and Carlson, are behind bars facing manslaughter charges.

"We are absolutely holding out all hope that we will locate Oakley alive. We have to realize the possibility that she is deceased," Undersheriff Brad Johansson said.

The mystery of it all was made worse with investigators now looking into a fire that happened at the couple’s home in mid-November. A GoFundMe account was set up by a friend of the couple, showing the damage to the home. It explained the parents didn’t call 911 because they couldn’t find their phones.

"It’s unusual that a fire department wasn’t called, I would say," Johansson said.

But Jamie Jo did call the Department of Children Youth and Families (DCYF) right before Thanksgiving to express concerns about Oakley when she saw the GoFundme account. The account is no longer active.

"If no one has seen her, what could have happened to her? Was it the fire? Was it something else,"
Jamie Jo asked.

The foster parents say they called DCYF not just last month, but in January of 2021 when they became suspicious after getting some news about Oakley.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Parents in custody for manslaughter, former foster parents plea for safe return of Oakville 5-year-old

"I am so disappointed. What a failure of the state of Washington. What a failure for those kids," Jamie Jo said.

Other children were removed from Bowers and Carlson's home and are being watched by others.  

The Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office said they only found out about Oakley two days ago when an associate of Bowers and Carlson called to say they had not seen Oakley in a while.

"I knew the father in high school and the person he is now is not the person he was at all in high school," Erik Hiles said.

Carlson is a former Aberdeen Police Officer. He was decommissioned as an officer in 2017 for making false and misleading statements.

Erik believes the couple are using drugs. When the state gave Oakley back to the couple in 2019, the Hiles' were concerned for Oakley’s safety.

The Hiles' are in shock over the fallout, but the most difficult thing right now is not knowing what happened to the little girl they always wanted to adopt.

"She was so kind and smart, she loved to read. She would fall asleep with books in her bed," Jamie Jo said.

"It was always ‘one more book.’ How can you say no to that?" Erik said.

Photo from the Hiles Family

FOX 13 reached out to DCYF, but the department said they cannot comment about the case.

FOX 13 also filed public disclosure requests, hoping to uncover how DCYF handled Oakley’s case.

Anyone with information on Oakley or her whereabouts is urged to call the sheriff's office at (360) 533-8765 and ask to speak to a deputy, or call Detective Sgt. Paul Logan at (360) 964-1729 or email sodetectives@co.grays-harbor.wa.us. Deputies ask that if you've seen her within the last year to give them a call. 

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