‘Paint the Night Pink for Oakley’ raises nearly $50K

With one of the biggest fundraising events since the disappearance of a local East County girl, the question of what’s next looms large.

Paint the Night Pink for Oakley, an auction-dinner fundraiser to raise money for the reward fund and to spread awareness for the disappearance of 5-year-old Oakville native Oakley Carlson was held on Saturday, July 16, in McCleary.

The event was sponsored by Light the Way Missing Persons Advocacy Project, a nonprofit organization that helps raise awareness and funds private investigations for families missing loved ones, as well as Oakley’s foster parents Jamie Jo and Erik Hiles.

The reward fund, which previously amounted to a little more than $25,000, now sits at $75,000. Jamie Jo, who previously commented that her goal was to have the reward fund up to $50,000 by the end of the calendar year, said the event was an incredible time and that she can’t thank the community enough for their support.

“We had an incredible time, and I can’t begin to express how grateful Erik and I are for everybody’s support,” Jamie Jo said. “We raised a grand total of approximately $49,245.81 between bidders, ticket sales, and many, many, generous donors.”

Prior to the event, Jamie Jo told The Daily World that all the money donated to the reward fund would be going to people and organizations that can help provide any credible information about the whereabouts of Oakley.

While there is no fundraising event currently scheduled for the remainder of July, another gathering is set to happen at Grays Harbor County Jail on July 31 prior to the release of Andrew Carlson, Oakley’s biological father, on Aug. 3.

Carlson, who pleaded guilty to two felony charges of child endangerment, regarding two of his other children on March 14, has spent nearly eight months at Grays Harbor County Jail, where he has resided since Dec. 6, 2021. Carlson, who was originally sentenced to the maximum allotted sentence of 12 months will be granted early release for good behavior.

The gathering, which is advised to be peaceful, will begin at 10:30 a.m. outside the Grays Harbor County Jail on Sunday, July 31.