Man arrested, accused of murdering missing mother and her 3-year-old son

Oregon authorities searching for a single mother and her 3-year-old son identified the child's biological father as a person of interest in the case Thursday.

Posted: May 24, 2019 10:41 AM
Updated: May 24, 2019 5:36 PM

SALEM, Ore. —

UPDATE: Detectives have arrested 52-year-old Michael John Wolfe in Portland on suspicion of murdering Karissa Fretwell and her son, Billy, according to the Salem Police Department.

Wolfe was arrested just before 2 p.m. on Friday and charged with two counts of aggravated murder and kidnapping.

However, no bodies have been found. Police said the charges do not mean that Karissa and William are dead, and Wolfe's charges can be changed if they are found alive.

There are no other suspects or persons of interest in the case.

(Updated 5/24/19 at 5:30 p.m.)


INITIAL REPORT (AP): Oregon authorities searching for a single mother and her 3-year-old son identified the child's biological father as a person of interest in the case Thursday, the same day they converged on two rural properties in the 10-day-old hunt.

Police in Salem, Oregon, want to question Michael John Wolfe of Gaston, Oregon, in the case.

Court papers show that the missing woman, 25-year-old Karissa Alyn Fretwell, went to court last year to establish that Wolfe was the father of her son, William.

A DNA test verified her claim, and Fretwell then filed a petition seeking more than $1,000 a month in child support from Wolfe, court records show. She has full custody of the child.

Fretwell hasn't been heard from since May 13, and her family reported her and her son missing when she didn't show up for work May 17. She is a student at Western Oregon University.

Authorities declined to comment on the court case involving Wolfe and Fretwell.

Fretwell's Facebook page is full of smiling photos of her and William, including one in the hospital right after his birth.

In her profile, she wrote "My son is my world ...Future WOU graduate, BIG DREAMER!"

Fretwell's sister did not immediately return a message sent through Facebook.

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