Married Oregon Man Charged With Murders Of Alleged Mistress & Their 3-Year-Old Son

Family members told investigators that Karissa Fretwell had been involved in a court case with Michael Wolfe, who is William's biological father, over unpaid child support.

May 29, 2019
Karissa and William Fretwell [Salem Police]

Photo by: Karissa and William Fretwell [Salem Police]

Karissa and William Fretwell [Salem Police]

By: Catherine Townsend

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SALEM, OR — A suspect has been charged in connection with the disappearance and alleged murder of a missing three-year-old boy and his mother in Salem, Oregon, according to court documents.

Michael John Wolfe, 52, is facing charges of kidnapping and aggravated murder in connection with missing mom Karissa Fretwell, 25, and her son William, according to KPTV.

The Yamhill County district attorney said that prosecutors have evidence the mother and son were killed, which includes surveillance video from the night she went missing and cell phone records. But the bodies of the mother and son have not been found.

"Without having the bodies, it makes the case more complicated. But I will say, in sum, the evidence that has been gathered is all leading to a consistent conclusion that they’ve been murdered," Yamhill County District Attorney Brad Berry told KPTV.

Fretwell has not been in contact with friends, family, or her employer since May 13. On that day, a babysitter told police that she took care of William and then returned him to Karissa at around 4 P.M.

Fretwell's friend Bethany Brown told KPTV that William's biological father, Wolfe, was married, and that she believed that "he didn't want anything to do with Karissa or Billy" and wanted to hide the affair from his wife.

More recently, the babysitter said she had discussed Wolfe and Wolfe’s wife with Fretwell, and that Fretwell told her they had “threatened Karissa that they were going to take William and get custody of him."

A family member went to Fretwell's apartment to check on her on May 17. The relative found the front door unlocked, the TV on, and important items left behind, including her bank card and eyeglasses, according to a probable-cause affidavit.

Mug shot of Michael Wolfe [Yamhill County Jail]

Photo by: Mug shot of Michael Wolfe [Yamhill County Jail]

Mug shot of Michael Wolfe [Yamhill County Jail]

By then, Fretwell had missed three shifts at work. Both of her cars were parked outside — but there was no sign of Fretwell.

Family members told investigators that Fretwell had been involved in a court case with Wolfe over unpaid child support. And Wolfe admitted to investigators that in April, a judge ordered him to pay $900 per month.

But Wolfe denies any involvement in her disappearance and told officers that he had not been in the area where Fretwell lived in over a year.

At the time Fretwell went missing, Wolfe reportedly told police that he worked his normal 6:30 P.M. to 6:30 A.M. shift at Cascade Steel. But according to court documents, investigators have found evidence that they say shows that Wolfe did not in fact work his full overnight shift on May 13.

According to court documents, detectives viewed surveillance video from Wolfe's workplace that they say captured Wolfe leaving the area where he works the evening of May 13 and walking into a tree line behind the shop.

Court documents state that Wolfe then emerged from the same area at 2:35 A.M. on May 14, carrying a white trash bag. “This would not be consistent with Michael’s above described statement he was at work his whole shift,” the affidavit states.

According to the Salem Reporter, police also accessed cell phone records that allegedly indicate Fretwell’s phone was in the area of Wolfe's home during that time.

Wolfe is currently being held without bail, and is expected back in court on June 7.

The Salem Police Department is still looking for Fretwell and William. They have asked anyone with information to call the Salem Police Department Tips Hotline at (503) 588-8477.

Read more: KPTV, Salem Reporter, KATU

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