Oakley Carlson

Oakley Carlson: School Principal Explains How She Found Out Little Girl Had Been Missing for Months

Missing Washington girl Oakley Carlson has not been seen since social services gave her back to her biological parents, but she wasn’t reported missing until an elementary school principal got involved.

Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Schrader told News Nation that Oakley was returned to her biological parents in February 2021 after she spent almost three years of her life with a foster family. Sometime after she returned to her parents’ Oakville home, she disappeared.

Police arrested Oakley’s parents, Jordan Bowers and Andrew Carlson, and initially charged them with manslaughter after they couldn’t locate Oakley. Those charges were dropped, citing a lack of evidence, but they are both facing neglect charges in connection with Oakley’s 6-year-old sister, for allegedly failing to give her prescribed medication for months.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Oakley was reported missing after deputies arrived at her family’s home on December 6, 2021, to perform a welfare check, at the request of Oakville Elementary School Principal, Jessica Swift.

Swift said the first time she noticed something odd was when she brought supplies to Oakley’s parents in December 2021, following a house fire that destroyed a lot of their belongings.

Oakley Carlson/ Handout

“Jordan had let us know that there was a fire so I had gone out to check on them and offer support and drop off supplies from the school right after the fire,” Swift said. “I saw all the other kids running around and playing and I didn’t see Oakley and I thought it was a little odd. I asked where she was and they told me that she was in her room in time out.”

Two weeks later, Swift returned to the home and again, didn’t see Oakley. Later, Oakley’s 6-year-old sister went to Swift’s home for a playdate with Swift’s daughter, and that’s when Swift learned that Oakley had not been seen in a while.

“On a playdate with my daughter and Oakley’s sister, I asked questions about Oakley,” Swift told News Nation. “And it came out over the course of those questions that Oakley wasn’t living with them anymore. I can’t describe the feeling I had at that moment, sitting on that couch with that little girl when she said that.”

Swift said she immediately contacted Grays Harbor police and made a report.

Jordan Bowers and Andrew Carlson/Police Handout

Investigators interviewed the 6-year-old, who 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.

When investigators searched the home, they saw no sign of Oakley having ever been there.

“We did not notice any bedroom set up for Oakley downstairs where everybody else had bedrooms set up,” Schrader said.

Schrader added that none of Oakley’s clothing was in the home and police found blood spatter inside the residence. However, he’s hopeful that Oakley is still alive and will be found.

“I think we’ll come to a closure on this case. I’m hopeful that Oakley is found and she’s found alive, but there are pieces inside of me that think that that might not be a reality — just given the investigation.”

In the meantime, both suspects remain behind bars at Grays Harbor County Jail on $150,000 bail each for the child neglect charges.

Investigators would like to speak with anyone who has seen or spoken to Oakley since January 2021, as well as anyone who had direct contact with her parents during the same time period.

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 sodetectives@co.grays-harbor.wa.us. 

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[Feature Photo: Oakley Carlson/Handout]