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Parents arrested in ‘suspicious disappearance’ of 5-year-old Wash. girl

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 11:55 PM CST
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OAKVILLE, Wash. (KOMO) - The search continues for a 5-year-old girl from Washington, even as her biological parents have been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter in the case.

Oakley Carlson’s loved ones are trying to keep hope alive after the little girl, who just turned 5 on Monday, vanished from her Oakville, Washington, home. But as each day goes by, deputies fear the worst. It’s unclear how long she’s been missing.

“There’s just this uneasy feeling. It just doesnt feel like it’s real. This doesn’t happen to us in our community,” said Erik Hiles, Oakley’s former foster parent.

Oakley Carlson, who just turned 5, vanished from her Oakville, Washington, home in a case...
Oakley Carlson, who just turned 5, vanished from her Oakville, Washington, home in a case deputies call "suspicious." It’s unclear how long she’s been missing.(Source: Hiles Family, KOMO via CNN)

For Erik and Jamie Jo Hiles, Oakley is like their own child. They took her in when she was just 7 months old, and she stayed with them until November 2019.

“That’s what’s so heartbreaking. We wanted to give her the absolute best life,” Jamie Jo Hiles said.

At that time, Oakley moved back in with her biological parents: Andrew Carlson and Jordan Bowers.

The two have now been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter in Oakley’s disappearance. They haven’t been formally charged.

“Loading her into that car two years ago felt like a death to us then. We have grieved and have been so sad at the loss of her. I never want anything to ever happen to her, but I have to prepare myself that something could have happened to her,” Jamie Jo Hiles said.

Deputies got a tip Monday to do a welfare check for Oakley. When they went to the home, they say her parents couldn’t reasonably explain where she was.

Deputies, troopers and the FBI have been searching the 300-acre property. Neighbors saw cadaver dogs. Divers will be searching a flooded area on the property Thursday, deputies say.

Jordan Bowers and Andrew Carlson, 5-year-old Oakley Carlson's biological parents, were arrested...
Jordan Bowers and Andrew Carlson, 5-year-old Oakley Carlson's biological parents, were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter in their daughter's disappearance. They haven’t been formally charged.(Source: Grays Harbor County Sheriff's Office, KOMO via CNN)

“We’re really concerned for her safety and wellbeing, and we just really don’t know what that is at this point,” said Grays Harbor County Undersheriff Brad Johansson.

Bowers has a criminal history involving drugs and theft.

Neighbors say they have called 911 many times after the couple had explosive fights.

Oakley’s former foster parents say they alerted the Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families, concerned about the little girl and her three siblings.

“Every part of my being was fighting that. We went to every court hearing. I would vehemently say this is not right. This should not happen,” Jamie Jo Hiles said. “I have just cried so hard, and then, I just am, like, angry.”

A spokesperson with the department would not comment on Oakley’s case, due to privacy laws.

Deputies say Oakley’s siblings are safe and being taken care of.

Bowers and Carlson are staying in jail until Friday. That’s how long the prosecutor has to formally charge them.

Copyright 2021 KOMO via CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.