Oakville community holds vigil for missing 5-year-old girl

The mystery surrounding the disappearance of 5-year-old Oakley Carlson has rocked the small town of Oakville as the search for her continues into day three. 

"In a small town, it impacts you one way or another. Somebody knows somebody," resident Heather Mitchell said.

Not only is it close to home, but Mitchell has a son close to Oakley’s age. During Thursday’s interview with FOX 13, Mitchell held back tears.

"My little guy is six, I get it. Oakley’s sister is in school with my son. The thought that the child is missing, just missing alone…" Mitchell said. 

During these dark times, Mitchell believes people need to meet, hug and talk. That is why she organized a vigil on Thursday to share hope with the town. People were asked to meet at the Oakville sign across from the elementary school at dusk.

"It’s just overwhelming, the feeling you get. You have to jump into action and do something," Mitchell said.

Mitchell said she wants to support Jamie Jo and Erik Hiles, Oakley’s previous foster parents. The couple wanted to adopt her but lost custody back in late 2019 to biological parents, Jordan Bowers and Andrew Carlson.

Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office says the two remain uncooperative. They are now facing a charge for abandonment of a dependent person in connection to Oakley's sister who deputies say is six-years-old.

RELATED: Where is Oakley Carlson? Search amps up for missing 5-year-old as parents remain uncooperative

On Thursday, multiple agencies worked together to find any clues of Oakley.

They were still centering search efforts around Carlson’s home and the 300 acres it sits on.

Deputies launched the investigation after receiving a call three days ago from an associate of the family who was concerned about Oakley.

 "My heart hurts for the foster parents. They were the ones to make a conscious decision to stay and raise a child that wasn’t their own and love her and nurture her," Mitchell said.

Jamie Jo read Oakley’s favorite bedtime story at the vigil, "I've Loved You Since Forever" by Hoda Kotb.

"There are pictures of a mom and a baby on every page. We would read it, and we would say that’s me and that’s you, and so when you look through it there’s a baby bee and a mama bee and at the very end there was a lady holding a baby, and she always said that’s me and that’s you mama," said Jamie Jo.

About a hundred people showed up for the candlelight vigil. Some who are connected to Oakley through her birth parents, and others who have grown to know and love the girl through her previous foster parents.

Holly Harp - relative of Hiles

"My girls would play with her, and she would come over all the time, and we would do family functions. Lots of fun with Oakley," said Holly Harp, sister-in-law of Jamie Jo. "It’s hard as a human not to think the worst, but we have to have hope. We just have to have hope that she’s out there somewhere."

RELATED: Did the system fail Oakley Carlson? 5-year-old Washington girl remains missing

"You see the pictures on social media, on the news and all that, and it breaks my heart. You see the pictures of the little girl. [It's] hard to believe someone could hurt a sweet, innocent girl like that," Assistant Fire Chief John Hedgers said.

Hedgers said he is holding on to hope for good news. 

Anyone with information on Oakley or her whereabouts is urged to call the sheriff's office at (360) 533-8765 and ask to speak to a deputy, or call Detective Sgt. Paul Logan at (360) 964-1729 or email sodetectives@co.grays-harbor.wa.us.

Get breaking news alerts in the FREE FOX 13 Seattle app. Download for Apple iOS or Android.

Stay connected with FOX 13 News on all platforms:
DOWNLOAD: FOX 13 News and Weather Apps
WATCH: FOX 13 News Live
SUBSCRIBE: FOX 13 on YouTube
DAILY BRIEF: Sign Up For Our Newsletter
FOLLOW: Facebook Twitter Instagram