Dinner and auction event set for Oakley Carlson on July 16

Although nearly 18 months have passed since the disappearance of 5-year-old Oakley Carlson, awareness and fundraising have grown in the hopes of gaining more information.

A dinner and auction event, Paint the Night Pink for Oakley, is set to be hosted this weekend in McCleary to raise awareness and help increase the reward fund for Oakley Carlson’s return.

The occasion, which is being hosted by Light the Way Missing Persons Advocacy Project, will feature prominent auction items, such as Seattle Mariners tickets, Seattle Zoo and Aquarium tickets, a guided fishing tour, and a getaway for two at the Lucky Eagle Casino among other things. Tickets to participate in the event are $40 per person and will include dinner and two drinks for everyone.

Shayna Richards, who helps run the Light the Way organization, said the main goal of the event is to keep Oakley’s name fresh in people’s minds so she doesn’t become a statistic and that they promote investigations, as well as awareness.

“We are an advocacy and investigation group to help people who have loved ones missing. Overall, we want to keep people thinking about Oakley and spread information as far as we can in case someone knows something,” Richards explained.

“We help with the funding of billboards and posters seen across the state of Washington and consistently keep in touch with legislative members and law enforcement to find more information.”

Richards said while her team of advocacy workers is currently small, they are doing everything they can to help with the case. She says her organization is a nonprofit and became official in January 2022.

Oakley’s foster mom Jamie Jo Hiles, along with her husband Erik, have been working with Light the Way Missing Persons Advocacy Project and say they are grateful for not only their support but the support of the community at large.

“It’s been absolutely phenomenal and so heartwarming. The businesses and people within the community have been so forthcoming with their support that it makes me teary-eyed to see the compassion of other people that we share this area with,” Jamie Jo said.

Jamie Jo expressed her happiness with the number of businesses that have been helping with fundraising for Oakley’s reward fund and says her goal is hopefully to reach $50,000 by the end of the calendar year. The reward fund currently has around $25,000. However, more important than the money is finding answers.

“Overall, we just want to raise enough money and awareness that we can find any clue about our little girl and receive some type of closure,” Jamie Jo explained.

The event will be located at 7 Vista Lane in McCleary and is set to begin at 6 p.m. with the auction starting at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 16. Tickets can be purchased online at lightthewaymissing.com or can be purchased in person at The Coffee Coop in Elma.