Karissa Fretwell case: Man arrested in murder of missing Oregon woman, 3-year-old son

An Oregon man was arrested Friday and charged in the presumed kidnapping and murder of a 25-year-old woman and her 3-year-old son.

Michael John Wolfe, 52, was charged with two counts of aggravated murder and two counts of kidnapping following the disappearance of Karissa Fretwell and the pair's son, William "Billy" Fretwell, according to the Salem Police Department.

Officials noted Fretwell and Billy have not been found dead and that the search for them is ongoing.

"Everybody involved in this case continues to hope for a safe return for Karissa and William,​​" Salem Police Department Lt. Treven Upkes said during a press conference. 

Wolfe, who is married to another woman, was established as Billy's biological father through a DNA test in 2018 after Fretwell filed a petition to establish the boy's paternity, the Salem Statesman Journal reports.

Last month, a Yamhill County judge ruled that Wolfe pay nearly $1,000 per month in child support to Fretwell, according to KATU

Megan Harper, one of Fretwell’s friends, told the station the missing woman and Wolfe had an affair while working together at a local steel mill and that the two were locked in a "custody battle."

"There was never a relationship there," Harper said. "She never knew he was married until after a couple weeks of her being pregnant. Then he offered to pay for an abortion."

"My first thought when she first went missing was that he'd done something," she added. 

Fretwell and her son were first reported missing by relatives on May 17, four days after they were last seen or heard from.

Robert Allen, a neighbor of 25-year-old Karissa Fretwell and her son Billy, told KOIN he noticed unusual activity at the pair's Salem residence two months before they vanished but is not sure it was related to their disappearance. 

"We heard a man and woman arguing incredibly loud," Allen told the station. "The man was swearing a lot and there was a kid crying in the background, and the woman was yelling at him to get out of her apartment."

Anyone with information about the case should call the Salem Police Tips Hotline at (503) 588-8477 and leave a message for Detective Jake Burke or call the Salem Police Department non-emergency number at (503) 588-6123.

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