MONTESANO, Wash. — Jordan Bowers, the mother of missing 5-year-old Oakley Carlson, was sentenced to 20 months in prison Friday for two counts of child endangerment with a controlled substance.
Bowers pleaded guilty to the charges in Grays Harbor County Superior Court on April 8 after she initially pleaded not guilty. She had also previously been charged with one count of abandonment, but the charge was dropped as part of the plea deal.
The charges, which are both class B felonies, are not related to Oakley's disappearance.
Bowers chose not to give a statement in court before she was sentenced.
Andrew Carlson, the father of Oakley, was sentenced to 12 months in prison in late March. He pleaded guilty to two counts of child endangerment with a controlled substance on March 14.
Under the endangerment charges, both Bowers and Andrew Carlson were accused of knowingly or intentionally permitting two of their dependent children to be exposed to, ingest, inhale, or have contact with methamphetamine. According to court documents, Oakley's siblings had "extremely high" levels of methamphetamine in their systems, suggesting they had either been exposed to the drug or may have ingested it.
“By the evidence before this court, and the evidence [Bowers] agreed the court can consider, it is clear she’s responsible,” Judge Katherine Svoboda said during the sentencing hearing. “I said something along the same lines to [Andrew Carlson]. It is a parent’s job to protect your children, and Ms. Bowers failed to do that.”
Due to her past criminal history, Bowers faced a longer sentence than Andrew Carlson, who had no previous criminal history. He is eligible for early release as soon as August 2022.
“While a sentence of 15 months would be commensurate with what Mr. Carlson got, it would only be a three-month difference, and that’s not enough considering Ms. Bowers' additional criminal history,” said Svoboda.
In addition to 20 months in prison, Bowers is not allowed to have “unsupervised contact with non-biological children” under the age of 18. Any future contact with her children “will be governed by the court in the dependency matters.”
“I’m not saying [Bowers] can't be at a family function where there's children, but she shall not be the supervisor of those children,” said Svoboda. “There will be a responsible adult there to take care of them.”
Neither Andrew Carlson nor Bowers have been charged in relation to Oakley’s disappearance. She was last seen alive on Feb. 10, 2021.
As Bowers entered and left the courthouse, escorted in shackles back to the jail next door, a group of more than 20 people yelled at Bowers.
"Where is Oakley," the crowd chanted as she walked in.
When Bowers left court, demonstrators yelled, "Have fun at Purdy," a reference to the women's prison in Gig Harbor where she will serve her sentence.
In the front of the crowd was Jamie Jo Hines, a former foster parent of Oakley's.
She said she wanted to be at the courthouse to make eye contact with Bowers, something Hines said she did before the court appearance.
"That's a vindication I can get," Hines said. "Unfortunately, in the situation right now, all I can do is make eye contact with her and hope she knows we're here and not going anywhere."
Police started looking for Oakley in December 2021 when a school principal called and requested a welfare check. The Oakville Elementary School principal called the police after one of Oakley’s siblings told her at a sleepover that “Oakley is no more,” according to court documents.
Investigators said Oakley wasn’t seen during the welfare check and both Bowers and Carlson were uncooperative.
During a search of the family’s home, police found toys and clothing for all kids, except Oakley. They also found blood on blinds at the home and the front door. Investigators searched the family’s 300-acre property but didn’t find Oakley.
Anyone with information about Oakley's disappearance is asked to contact the Grays Harbor County Sheriff's Office non-emergency number at 360-533-8765 or contact Detective Sgt. Paul Logan at 360-964-1729 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.