Dive teams deployed in search for Salem mom, son


YAMHILL COUNTY, Ore. (KOIN) — The search for Karissa Fretwell and her 3-year-old son Billy brought the Clackamas County dive team to a body of water in Yamhill County.

The 25-year-old Salem woman and her little boy were reported missing May 17 and haven’t been seen since May 13. Authorities arrested 52-year-old Michael John Wolfe on 2 counts of aggravated murder and kidnapping. He was taken into custody on Friday by Salem Police Department detectives at a doughnut shop in Portland. 

Michael John Wolfe, a person of interest in the disappearance of Karissa Fretwell and her son Billy, seen in undated photos released by the Salem Police Department, May 23, 2019

Court records show Wolfe is the biological father of Billy. Investigators searched his home in Gaston for days and a separate area in Hopewell — more than 30 miles away — in an effort to find the mom and son.

Salem police also have a search warrant for a green Mercury Mountaineer parked in front of Fretwell’s apartment. On the front seat is a financial aid application form she filled out on May 5.

It’s not clear at this time what brought the Clackamas County dive team to the water. The sheriff’s office is also working with the sheriff’s offices in Multnomah and Yamhill plus the Salem police department as the investigation continues to unfold.

Who is Michael Wolfe?

Bethany Brown, one of Fretwell’s friends, said Fretwell met Wolfe while she was working at Jimmy Johns and he was working as a security guard. Brown said Fretwell would deliver sandwiches to Wolfe and he started asking her out. After that, Fretwell got a security job at the same steel plant as Wolfe. 

According to Brown, the relationship between Fretwell and Wolfe wasn’t a stable one and Fretwell later moved to Salem for a different security job. That’s when Fretwell started asking Wolfe for regular child support. 

“I think the child support kind of topped it off for Michael,” Brown said. “I think he — I don’t want to think he did anything, but it’s just super weird that it was the same time frame, it was like 3 to 4 weeks ago and I think her first child support check she was supposed to receive June 2019 — next month.” 

Undated photos of Karissa and Billy Fretwell. (Courtesy of Salem PD) 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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