Oakley Carlson was an adorable little girl, four at the time of her disappearance, from Oakville, Washington. Oakville, located in Grays Harbor, has a population of 722 people. Oakville remains a very small town. Described by her foster parents happy child, Oakley seemed like a vibrant, beautiful soul. She went missing after returning to her biological parents home, with no concern and cooperation from them. Did her parents do the unspeakable?
Disclosure: This story includes talk of child abuse and drug use. If any of these subjects are a trigger for please take care of yourself, and check out some of my other stories! I Never victim blame nor do I make excuses for people who commit these horrendous crimes. I believe in learning from these tragic events. The history of these awful people is important to think about what led up to the events and how to resolve the problem before it led to murder.
Oakley, born on December 6, 2016, to Jordan Bowers and Andrew Carlson. I could not find much information on her so-called parents, but overall, it does not matter. In August of 2017, after removed from her parents care, she was placed in the care of her foster parents Jamie Jo and Erik Hiles at eight months old. Jamie Jo describes Oakley as a happy child, who was always laughing. She had the ability to make everyone around her smile. She thrived once in the care of the couple, and became very smart. It was not long before she could speak in sentences. Oakley loved to have dance parties, specifically to the Beach boys song “Barbara Ann” song. Jamie Jo said she wanted to hear the song multiple times a day. Jamie Jo said her foster daughter radiated love.
The couple was working on adopting Oakley, because they wanted to give her the best life possible. However, in 2019, the couple were informed that Oakley would be returned to her birth parents. Jamie Jo and Erik were devastated. The couple vocally fought this. During visits, Oakley came home upset and sometimes with marks. When they reported this, the DCYF shut the family down the only people to care for her. Originally, Oakley would return to Jordan and Andrew after the holidays, but she moved back in their care after thanksgiving.
In December 2020, Oakley spent Christmas with her paternal grandparents, Kate and Fred Carlson. They noticed her skin was pale, her eyes had dark circles, and had sores all over her face. Kate reported her change in appearance to Child Protective Services (CPS). Unfortunately the call did not result in any help for Oakley and Andrew cut contact from his parents.
What Happened to Oakley?
The last sighting of Oakley was on February 10, 2021, by a person close to the family. Before the police became aware of this sighting, the police believed it to be January 27. Ten months later, on November 6, 2021, Jordan and Andrew’s home mysteriously caught on fire. Andrew told police, after the fact, that he spent four hours putting the fire out. He claimed that they did not call 911, because they could not locate their cellphones. He also said that Oakley started the fire by playing a lighter and igniting a flame on the couch. Finding this suspicious, the police investigated the fire further, and found out that the fire actually started in the microwave, in the kitchen.
When hearing about the fire, Principal Jessica Swift checked on the family and brought them supplies. Her visit lasted 45 minutes and when asked about Oakley, they told her that she was in her room. When returning to check on the family, on a different day, they told Jessica that Oakley was living back with her foster parents.
Jessica’s daughter was friends with Oakley’s six year old sister and would often go over to her house. On December 4, Jessica had her over for a sleepover. When asked about Oakley, her sister became very upset and said “Oakley is no more”. When pressed for information, Oakley’s sister said she was back with the Hiles’. Jessica became alarmed when she noticed that the girl got sad. She asked Jordan if she could stay another night, because the girls were having fun together.
Jessica contacted CPS and confirmed that Oakley was not in the care of her foster parents.
The next day, on December 5, Jessica filed a report with the Gray Harbor county’s sheriff department and requested a welfare check. At this time, Jordan and Andrew resided at a local motel, and because the motel was located outside of the jurisdiction of the Gray Harbor sheriff department, the welfare was checked by Tumwater Police.
Andrew told the police that Oakley was staying with his parents, but was unable to give them a number. After he finally found their number and the police contacted them, they informed them that they have not seen or heard from Oakley since December 2020. When telling Andrew that his parents did not have her, the police noticed that he did not seem surprised. Jordan did not want to cooperate to help find her daughter. The next day, Andrew reported Oakley missing, which was very suspicious. They eventually told police that they last seen their daughter on November 30, 2021.
After conducting a search warrant for Oakley’s family home, police found no toys or clothes belonging to her. They also found blood on the front door, blinds, and a bloody hand print on the wall of the downstairs hallway. Although the police never announced who the blood belongs to, they have stated that they suspect foul play. Police arrested Andrew and Jordan for Obstruction of Law Enforcement and First-Degree Manslaughter charges.
On December 7,as the search for Oakley continued, police asked the public to look out for her. The next day, the sheriff’s office announced that after learning that they couple failed to give her sister prescription medicine she needed, they added the charge of Abandonment of a Dependent person to the couple’s existing charges. The lack of medicine could cause her physical impairment and even death.
Soon after, police interviewed Oakley’s sibling and they told them, their parents told them not to talk about her. After some time, her sister told police that Oakley wandered off into the woods and was eaten by wolves, according to their mother. Her younger brother told police Jordan beat Oakley with a belt and confined her in her closet, which made him scared that she would starve. He also talked about the fire and said Oakley did not make it out of the house.
After learning that the couple exposed the children to methamphetamine, the police charged them both with two counts of Child Endangerment with a Controlled Substance. The children tested for high levels of methamphetamine, proving that they either exposed their children to the drug or they ingested it somehow.
In March 2022, Andrew pleaded guilty to his charges and because he has no prior criminal history, he was sentenced to 12 months in prison and was eligible for release in August. In April, Jordan pleaded guilty to the same charges as Andrew. The court sentenced her to 22 months in prison. In January, after released from prison, Jordan was arrested and charged with Fraud and identity theft, for fraudulent banking activity and unrelated to Oakley’s disappearance.
In January 2023, the Oakley Carlson Act, created by Representative Jim Walsh, was referred to the Human Services, Youth and Early Learning Committee, as House Bill 1397. Bill urged the committee to vote on bill, that children in these situations need protecting, but they refused to vote on the bill. The bill would have made the check-in process on families with a history of substance abuse harder and mandate more drug tests.
After fighting the records of investigation from releasing, Jordan ultimately was unsuccessful. She attempted to argue that her other children knew nothing of her location. Oakley’s siblings shared that their parents abused her and locked her in a “cell” under the staircase, depriving her of food and water. The reports also revealed that the Department of Youth and Family Services screens the family in 11 separate intakes, since 2013. These intakes included domestic abuse, physical abuse, parental drug use, and medical neglect.
With all the evidence against Jordan and Andrew, my opinion is that they are responsible for Oakley’s disappearance. I have to mention theory that they sold Oakley, because Jordan had a gambling addiction. As much as I would like to believe, Oakley is alive somewhere, I just do not think she made it out of the house alive. Her siblings stated they all made it out, except for Oakley. What about them saying wolves in the woods ate poor Oakley? They could have killed her, taken her body to the woods, and burnt the house to get rid of evidence. I do not necessarily count out that she died of exposure to meth, since other siblings had an extreme amount in their system.
What lessons can we learn from Oakley’s disappearance? The obvious change needs to come from agencies, like CPS, meant to protect children. If a parent actually tries to get help, reuniting the family is ideal, but this process must be gradual and follow up is necessary. The Hiles’ family wanted to adopt Oakley and helped her flourish. She never got the chance to live her life and fulfill her potential. I find myself wondering what kind of adult she could have been. My only hope is that someday we get answers and Oakley gets the justice she deserves. Thank you for taking the time to read Oakley’s story and take care!
Anyone with information about Oakley Carlson’s whereabouts or the family is encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Office investigation division at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-964-1729.
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