Karissa Fretwell and her three-year-old son, William “Billy” Fretwell, were found dead on June 15, more than a month after they were reported missing by their family in Salem, Oregon, The Oregonian reports. Billy Fretwell’s 52-year-old father, Michael Wolfe, was arrested in late May and charged with aggravated kidnapping and murder, but had denied any role in their disappearance, the newspaper reports.
Two months prior to the 25-year-old Fretwell’s disappearance, her neighbor claims to have heard fighting taking place in her apartment. Neighbor Robert Allen said to KOIN, “We heard a man and woman arguing incredibly loud. 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.”
Fretwell died of a single gunshot wound to the head, the medical examiner’s office ruled. The cause and manner of death for Billy Fretwell has not been released. Prosecutors and the sheriff’s office have not released many details about the case. The bodies were found in a remote and wooded area of Yamhill County, The Oregonian reports.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Fretwell & Wolfe Had Recently Gone to Court as Part of a Child Support Dispute
Karissa Fretwell and Michael Wolfe were in court shortly before Fretwell’s disappearance for a hearing regarding a child support dispute, The Oregonian reports. Wolfe had been ordered to pay $900 a month in child support. According to court documents, Fretwell went to court to establish that Wolfe was the boy’s father and a DNA test confirmed it.
Fretwell had sole custody of their son. Billy Fretwell’s babysitter told police that Karissa Fretwell had been threatened by Wolfe and his wife, who had said they would take custody of Billy, the newspaper reports.
According to The Oregonian, Fretwell and her son, Billy, were declared missing on May 17 after her family hadn’t seen or heard from them in five days.
To The Statesman Journal, Fretwell’s friend, Megan Harper, said she was supposed to watch Billy on May 17, but never heard from Fretwell. Harper said, “I feel ill with worry about William. Last night, I held my daughter’s hand so tightly while she slept and I couldn’t sleep because my mind was going over all the possibilities of what could be happening to him.”
The women first met while they were both studying at Chemeketa Community College. She described Fretwell as “shy and awkward.”
Harper added, “She has a strong work ethic. She’d never miss work.”
2. Fretwell Is a Former Delivery Driver for Jimmy Johns
According to her Facebook, Fretwell is a former delivery driver for Jimmy Johns. She has also worked as a security guard at Cascade Steel Rolling Mills, and at McDonalds, per her Facebook.
Per KOIN, Allen (Fretwell’s neighbor) said a woman came by her apartment claiming to be her sister. Allen said, “[She] came by a couple nights ago, pretty late in the evening, asking if we knew anything and stated that her sister had been missing for a while.”
Allen continued that the woman “was pretty upset, concerned, really concerned,” and that he told the woman that he has “noticed that the television screen, it’s been on the same screen for about a week, so obviously there’s no one in the apartment.”
3. Fretwell Studied at Western Oregon University
Per her Facebook, Fretwell was studying at Western Oregon University at the time of her disappearance. In the past, she’s received her AAOT (Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer) at Chemeketa Community College, and attended Dallas High School as well.
Fretwell was living in McMinnville, Oregon, at the time of her disappearance; according to her Facebook, she’s originally from Northwood, North Dakota.
4. Fretwell Called Her Son ‘My World’
Fretwell’s Facebook bio reads, “My son is my world 2-18-16 Graduated with my AAOT. Class of 2017. Future WOU graduate. BIG DREAMER!”
In her profile picture, which shows the two of them, her caption reads, “He has my heart. ?”
5. Wolfe Has Been in Jail Without Bail Since May 25
Michael Wolfe has been in jail in Yamhill County without bail since May 25. He was indicted by a grand jury on the kidnapping and aggravated murder charges.
According to the Salem Reporter, Wolfe and Karissa Fretwell met while she was working as a delivery driver for Jimmy Johns. Wolfe was married at the time. He would order food while working at Cascade Steel Rolling Mills and would specifically request that Fretwell deliver the order, Fretwell’s former co-worker told the newspaper.
“He would call almost every day to get food delivered from her. She would come back and say how he would make inappropriate comments,” Bethany Brown told the newspaper.
Brown told the newspaper that Fretwell found out that Wolfe was married and had children from that relationship just three days after learning she was pregnant. Brown said Wolfe wanted Fretwell to get an abortion.