Andrew Carlson pleaded guilty on Monday, March 14, to two felony charges of child endangerment with a controlled substance during a pretrial conference, via Zoom, in Grays Harbor Superior Court.
In exchange for his guilty pleas to those charges, Carlson faces 6- to 12-month sentences, which would be served concurrently. Carlson will also not face trial for his initial felony charge of abandonment of a dependent person in the second degree.
Carlson was previously scheduled to stand a four-day trial on April 19, alongside Jordan Bowers, for the two child endangerment charges, plus a felony abandonment of a dependent person in the second degree charge.
Bowers is currently scheduled to stand alone at the four-day trial.
Carlson, who has no prior convictions, according to Grays Harbor County’s Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Jason Walker, faces a “standard range,” of 6 to 12 months, per the sentencing guidelines.
Grays Harbor County Superior Court Judge Katherine Svoboda read Carlson’s charges to him. She also made sure he was clear on his guilty pleas to the two charges and the rights he would be giving up if he went forward with the guilty pleas.
Carlson, who appeared in front of Svoboda, via Zoom, did say he was aware of the rights he was giving up, which included the right to refuse to testify against himself.
The 37-year-old Carlson, of Oakville, along with Bowers, was initially charged in December 2021 with one felony count of abandonment of a dependent person in the second degree, when a Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office investigation revealed their 6-year-old child had not received her medication for 15 months.
The deputies discovered the crime while they were searching the home, and the property, for Oakley Carlson, the little girl who was reported missing Dec. 6, 2021 — her fifth birthday — but had been missing since Feb. 10, 2021. The 6-year-old is Oakley’s older sibling.
Neither Carlson nor Bowers faces a charge that deals with Oakley’s disappearance. As of March 1, there was nothing new to report on the search for Oakley, according to Grays Harbor Undersheriff Brad Johansson.
“Investigators are still trying to determine exactly what happened to Oakley and who is responsible,” Johansson wrote to The Daily World. “With Oakley not being found this makes the case even more difficult. Based on the outcomes of this investigation, there could be several criminal charges that would apply.”
The two felony charges to which Carlson has now pleaded guilty, stemmed from two drug tests that the Department of Children, Youth and Families conducted on the 6-year-old and her 2-year-old sibling on Dec. 10, 2021, according to court files.
Both children tested positive for methamphetamine, according to hair follicle tests. The 6-year-old’s test results showed results of 5,186 picograms of methamphetamine.
One picogram equates to one-trillionth of a gram, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
The 6-year-old’s results are considered extremely high, court files state.
“Those levels are extremely high and consistent with a child who has ingested methamphetamine, although they are not inconsistent with a child who has been passively exposed to the drug,” according to Dr. Joyce Gilbert of the Providence Sexual Assault and Child Maltreatment Clinic in Lacey, the files state.
But, the 2-year-old’s test results showed worse results as the toddler tested positive for at least 10,000 picograms-per-miligram, the court files state.
“(The 2-year-old’s) results are more consistent with ingestion,” the files state. “According to Dr. Gilbert, no pharmaceutical other than methamphetamine would produce such results, which would reflect exposure (within) three months of the test.”
The toddler’s foster parents have previously reported behavior from the child that is consistent with juvenile methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms, the files show.
Both Carlson and Bowers previously pleaded not guilty to the child endangerment charges during a Monday, Feb. 7, “Motion to Amend” hearing.
Carlson faces sentencing on the charges to which he plead guilty on Monday, March 28, at 9 a.m.
The pretrial conference for Bowers, who also appeared in front of Svoboda via Zoom, was continued until Monday, March 21.