Jordan Bowers, the biological mother of the missing 5-year-old girl Oakley Carlson, will go to trial for three felony charges on April 19.
It appears as though Bowers — who faces a felony charge of second-degree abandonment of a dependent person, and two felony child endangerment charges — will face her four-day trial at the Satsop Business Park, in Elma, without any witnesses.
While it sounds rare for someone facing such serious charges, it’s apparently a common practice, according to Grays Harbor County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jason Walker.
“I see it all the time,” Walker said in an email to The Daily World. “It’s the state’s burden to prove the case. They don’t have to do anything and I can still lose.”
Bowers, who has pleaded not guilty to all three charges, could spend time in prison if she is convicted.
Bowers appeared in Grays Harbor Superior Court on Monday, April 4, at the Grays Harbor County Courthouse, for a “fact-finding” criminal hearing. Her appearance lasted a few minutes in front of Grays Harbor County Superior Court Judge David Edwards.
After a brief exchange between Edwards and Bowers’ attorney, Michael Nagle, Edwards found out something that seemed to surprise him.
“I don’t have a witness list to offer at this point, your honor,” Nagle said.
Edwards asked why there was no witness list for Bowers.
“I have no witnesses other than the defendant,” Nagle said.
The felony charges Bowers faces are not for Oakley. The charges regard two of her other children, a 6-year-old and a 2-year-old.
The 6-year-old and 2-year-old each went through hair follicle drug tests on Dec. 10, 2021, and they each tested positive for methamphetamine, which led to the two felony child endangerment charges.
The felony abandonment charge stems from when detectives found the 6-year-old, who is legally blind in both eyes, had allegedly not received her medication for 15 months. They discovered that in December 2021 while they were searching for Oakley in the Oakville home that Bowers and Andrew Carlson share.
Oakley, who was reported missing on Dec. 6, 2021, has not had a confirmed sighting since Feb. 10, 2021.
Carlson, who is Bowers’ former co-defendant, pleaded guilty on Monday, March 14, to two felony charges of child endangerment. In exchange, his abandonment of a dependent person in the second degree charge was dismissed.
On Monday, March 28, Grays Harbor Superior Court Judge Katherine Svoboda levied the maximum punishment — up to 12 months in prison — for Carlson, who is currently scheduled to be released in early August.
After Carlson was sentenced, he expressed regret for his “failings as a father.”
Bowers currently sits in the Grays Harbor County Jail in Montesano.