The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office, working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, has released a photo of Oakley Carlson age-progressed as she would appear today.
Oakley was reported missing on Dec. 6, 2021 and the last credible sighting of Oakley was 10 months prior, on Feb. 10, 2021. Oakley’s biological parents, Jordan Bowers and Andrew Carlson, have not cooperated with the investigation into Oakley’s disappearance or with efforts to find her.
Both were released from jail last year for child endangerment charges linked to another one of their children being exposed to drugs. Bowers was rearrested on unrelated identity theft charges while leaving incarceration and is waiting to face trial.
The photo comes as part of a push to make sure people have an accurate image of her to refer to, not as she was years ago, said Chief of Special Services Paul Logan.
NCMEC has been involved in the case since very early in the investigation, Logan said, and helps to put out word for any missing children.
“They come into it — any missing and endangered child, they offer their help,” Logan said in a phone interview. “They have the network that can go globally with the information, which we don’t have.”
The technology around the grim subject has evolved, Logan said, and digitally aging photos to provide an accurate image of what the missing child could look like is one part of it.
“They’ll help with posters. It used to be the kids on the milk cartons,” Logan said. “It’s definitely moved into the digital age.”
Programs and experts within NCMEC are able to make a fair approximation of what a child will look like as they get older, growing out of their baby-fat stages, Logan said. There weren’t many good photos of Carlson for a period extending before her disappearance, Logan said, and the differences in her appearance would have become even more pronounced since then.
“I know they take existing pictures and they’ll use facial structures, complexion, hair color, eye color,” Logan said. “Within a certain determination of accuracy, they can project forward.”
The sheriff’s office and other organizations are in the process of disseminating the photo as widely as possible, in the hopes that it’ll lead to information leading to Carlson’s safe return.
“Continued support and attention to this is the best thing we can have,” Logan said. “We still get tips on this daily. A lot of them are rumors, a lot of them are repeats of things that we got.”
A reward fund for information leading to Oakley’s whereabouts had reached $80,000 as of early September. The reward fund is managed by Light the Way Missing Persons Advocacy Project.
More information on Oakley’s case and opportunities to help with the search effort can be found at https://justiceforoakley.wixsite.com/home .
Anyone with information that could aid law enforcement in their search for Oakley is encouraged to contact the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office at 360-533-8765 or the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST. To speak to a detective directly, contact Logan at 360-964-1729 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Senior Reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or email@example.com.