McMINNVILLE, Ore. (KOIN) — Billy Fretwell’s toys and rocking chair sit in his grandparents’ living room in McMinnville. His grandmother, Nyla Bales, said Billy was an imaginative boy, a little treasure — and that she doesn’t go 5 minutes without thinking about him and his mother, Karissa.
It’s been 3 years since Karissa and Billy were killed. She was 25. Billy was only 3.
When they went missing, Nyla and Kirk Bales’ world went quiet.
“We were numb, you know, from the time they were reported until they told us they had found them,” Kirk told KOIN 6 News.
Nyla said her daughter Karissa loved and protected Billy. Karissa was a single mom who dedicated her life to provide for Billy, working full-time and going to college full-time.
Karissa was working to become a high school English teacher, Nyla said.
“Not being able to realize her dream is probably what I would miss the most,” Kirk said.
The court case is coming to a close — their killer, Michael Wolfe (who was also Billy’s father) is scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday.
But the hole in their hearts will always be there.
“To me, it’s what grief is about. The memories that we don’t get,” Nyla said. “And he should be 6 now. So it took half of his life to get this done with. And that makes me sad. But I imagine what he’d be like and, you know, it’s nice.”
Treasure the minutes, she said. You don’t know how many you’ll get.
After all this time, it’s the little things Nyla and Kirk wanted to do with Billy — take him out on their boat, go fishing, watching Karissa mature into a wonderful mom.
As parents and grandparents, the Bales wish they could have continued to watch them both grow.