Accused killer Michael Wolfe faces judge


YAMHILL COUNTY, Ore. (KOIN) — The man suspected of killing Karissa and Billy Fretwell appeared in court Friday afternoon.

Michael Wolfe is accused of kidnapping and murdering the 25-year-old Salem mom and her 3-year-old son. Billy is the biological son of Wolfe.

Wolfe appeared by video and his defense attorney spoke for him in court. He is now officially charged with three counts of aggravated murder and 2 counts of kidnapping.

“We’re kind of riding the crest of the wave still on the investigation, there is still a lot of work to be done, a lot of unanswered questions,” District Attorney Brad Berry said. “That’s kind of the hard part, both for investigators as well as the family.” 

Berry said he’s been in contact with Karissa’s family.

“As you might guess this is a tough time,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of meetings with investigators and my victims’ advocates. We’ve met with the family several times now.”

The 52-year-old was arrested at Blue Star Donuts in downtown Portland on May 24.

According to the Yamhill County District Attorney’s Office, Karissa and Billy were kidnapped sometime between May 13-14 and were dead by May 16, however, officials don’t know when they were killed within that timeframe. They were reported missing on May 17.

The bodies of Karissa and Billy were discovered in a wooded and remote area 10 miles west of Yamhill — an area where accused killer Wolfe fished.

Karissa’s cause of death was determined to be a gunshot wound to the head. However, Billy’s cause is undetermined pending tests. 

One man felt compelled to attend the arraignment to learn more about what happened to the 3-year-old. 

“Things like this disturb me, so, and I just feel sorry for the little boy,” Don Maul of McMinnville said.

Yamhill DA: Karissa and Billy were dead by May 16

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