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Who Is Michael John Wolfe? New Details On The Man Charged With Kidnapping And Murdering Karissa Fretwell And Her Son Billy

Photo: Salem Police Department 
Who Is Michael John Wolfe? New Details ON The Man Charged With Kidnapping And Murdering Karissa Fretwell And Her Son Billy

When Karissa Fretwell and her three-year-old son Billy vanished from their home in Salem, Oregon, her friends and family were distressed. It seemed like the young mother and her little boy vanished without a trace. The only clues were some remarks a neighbor made about hearing a man yelling in Karissa's home in the days leading up to her disappearance. Now the police believe they have made a breakthrough in the case. They have arrested Michael John Wolfe, another Salem resident  for the kidnapping and murder of both Karissa and her son. Here's what we know so far. Who is Michael John Wolfe?

1. The Arrest of Michael Wolfe 

Karissa Fretwell and her son Billy were reported missing on May 17th. Though neither the young mother nor her toddler son have been found, a major break came in the case when Michael Wolfe was arrested under two counts of aggravated kidnapping and two additional counts of aggravated murder. Michael was arrested at a donut shop in Oregon roughly 50 miles away from the town of Salem.  “He didn’t buy anything. He was just making some weird comments towards some of our female co-workers,” an employee told KATU. “He didn’t put up a resistance; he didn’t put up a fight. I think he saw the six or seven guys that came out of the car, and he knew what was going down.”

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2. His Relationship with Karissa 

When Michael and Karissa met, she was working as a delivery driver at a local sandwich shop. Michael, employed by Cascade Steel Rolling Mills, would order lunch daily and began requesting that Karissa and only Karissa be the person who delivered his sandwiches. Karissa would often come back to work complaining about his "inappropriate" remarks. 

In spite of this or perhaps because of his dogged determination, Karissa and Michael eventually transformed their business relationship into one that became romantic. In fact, at one point Karissa even briefly worked at the same place as Michael, acting as a part-time security guard at Cascade Steel Rollings Mills. 

3. She Wouldn't Get An Abortion 

Michael and Karissa's romantic relationship would be properly categorized as an affair since Michael was already married and had no plans of leaving his wife.  Karissa found out she was pregnant just three days after Michael told her he was married with children.  Michael wanted her to have an abortion because he was afraid his wife would find out about his affair. Karissa refused, and according to her friends, Michael (who was referred to as John) eventually helped Karissa find an apartment to move into and co-signed the lease. As the biological father of Karissa's son Billy, Michael was controlling. Her friends allege that he appeared at her home at all hours, rarely letting her know he was coming over. 

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4. She Just Won Child Support 

Karissa took her responsibilities to her son very seriously. That's why in the early summer of 2018 she petitioned the courts for child support payment for Billy from Michael. This led to a paternity test and when the results proved that Michael was the father, he was ordered to pay $904 a month to help Karissa and Billy. 

A friend of Karissa, Meghan Harper, claims that as soon as Karissa and William went missing she had suspicions that Michael was involved. “My first thought when she first went missing was that he'd done something,” she said to the local news. 

5. His Incriminating Cell Phone Pings

The police were able to arrest Michael after they gathered evidence that placed his cell phone near Karissa's home the day she disappeared, and that wasn't all of the cell phone evidence that the authorities pieced together either. In an affidavit put together by the police, they were able to prove that Michael lied to police about his whereabouts on the evening the Fretwells went missing. “Based on the interviews of Karissa’s family and friends, I believe the only known person who would benefit from the disappearance or criminal homicide of Karissa and William is Michael (Wolfe),” Salem Police Department Detective Anthony VanDeKoppel wrote in the affidavit.

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. She's an experienced generalist with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, pop culture, and true crime. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr