Authorities investigating the disappearance of a Washington girl have confirmed that the last known time she was seen alive was in February 2021.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, the neighbors of 5-year-old Oakley Carlson said they have not seen her “in quite some time.” Another person in the Oakland neighborhood the child lived in said that it had been so long since Oakley was seen that the school bus eventually stopped coming to pick her up.
Grays Harbor Undersheriff Brad Johansson said Oakley was filed as missing after authorities arrived at her family’s residence on December 6 to perform a welfare check, at the request of Oakville Elementary School Principal Jessica Swift.
Oakley’s parents told investigators that the last they saw her alive was on November 30. They didn’t provide any information about where the child could be, police said.
“The parents have given no indication that Oakley is in the care of an adult and cannot account for her whereabouts or condition,” police said in a news release. “Investigators believe Oakley would be unable to survive on her own for this length of time.”
Fox 13 reports that Johansson announced Tuesday that Oakley was last seen alive on February 7. The search for the child has been called off after extensive searches on and near the family’s property, but Johansson said the investigation into what happened to Oakley will continue, adding that the chance of finding her alive was “not very good at this point.”
“The search at the residence is complete and she was not located. Detectives are still actively investigating this case. There are no searches underway at this point,” Johansson said.
On Friday, police dropped the manslaughter charges against Jordan Bowers and Andrew Carlson, identified as Oakley’s parents. They were initially charged with suspicion of manslaughter after they failed to provide police details about Oakley’s whereabouts.
The pair is now facing “abandonment of a dependent person in the second-degree” charges after allegedly failing to provide another daughter, a 6-year-old, with her medication for at least 15 months. Their bail has been set at $150,000 for each, according to the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators interviewed the 6-year-old, who initially said her mother told her not to talk about Oakley. She eventually admitted she hadn’t seen her sister in a long time; she began crying when a detective asked her if Oakley was hurt.
“Her mother Jordan told her not to talk about Oakley and that she had gone out to be eaten by wolves,” a police report read.
However, the girl also said that she remembered the fire and everyone got out of the home except for Oakley.
When police questioned Bowers about Oakley’s disappearance, she allegedly became furious and refused to answer questions.
“She became enraged, yelling, clenching her fists, and refused to answer any further questions about the welfare or wellbeing of her daughter,” the report read.
During a search of the couple’s residence, police found “blood splatter on the blinds near the front door, on the front door and a handprint on the wall in the downstairs hallway.” They also found signs of other children being in the home but no signs of Oakley.
Investigators are also looking into a fire that started on the couple’s 300-acre property in November. The suspects said they didn’t call for help about the fire because they could not find their cellphones. A friend set up a GoFundMe account for the pair shortly after.
“It’s unusual that a fire department wasn’t called, I would say,” Johansson said.
NBC 5 reports that Swift contacted social services after her child and Oakley’s sister had a playdate together at her house. While there, Oakley’s sibling became upset and said, “Oakley is no more.” Swift also told police that she had been to the home on numerous occasions after the fire and never once saw Oakley.
Oakley’s foster mother, Jamie Jo Hiles, heard about the fire and contacted the Department of Children Youth and Families (DCYF) in November after seeing the GoFundMe account, which has since been deactivated.
“If no one has seen her, what could have happened to her? Was it the fire? Was it something else?” Hiles asked.
Hiles and her husband cared for Oakley for almost three years. Then, in 2019, the courts gave Oakley back to her biological parents. Despite contacting social services numerous times, Hiles and her family never heard from Oakley again.
“We told them [social services] several times this wasn’t a safe decision,” Hiles said. “We begged them – ‘please don’t let her go back, please don’t let her go back.’”
“They made a mistake. A big mistake. I told them in my last letter it was going to be on their shoulders if something happens to her.”
Anyone with information on Oakley should call the sheriff’s office at (360) 533-8765. You can also contact Detective Sgt. Paul Logan at (360) 964-1729 or email email@example.com.
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[Feature Photo: Handout]