DA: Murder suspect familiar with area where bodies of Salem woman, son were found in Yamhill Co.

Michael John Wolfe, jail booking photo
Michael John Wolfe, jail booking photo(Marion County Jail)
Updated: Jun. 17, 2019 at 11:29 AM PDT
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YAMHILL COUNTY, Ore. (KPTV) - The bodies of a missing Salem woman and her young son were found in a wooded area in remote Yamhill County, partially hidden by debris, according to investigators.

Yamhill County District Attorney Brad Berry discussed the case Monday, after the bodies of Karissa Fretwell, 25, and 3-year-old William “Billy” Fretwell were discovered over the weekend about 10 miles west of Yamhill.

Berry said the discovery was a result of “good detective work,” but he didn’t say if murder suspect Michael John Wolfe shared information or has been cooperative with investigators.

Berry said investigators believe Wolfe was familiar with the area where the bodies were found, which is private property owned by Weyerhaeuser.

Wolfe was indicted earlier this month on charges of aggravated murder, aggravated murder constituting domestic violence and first-degree kidnapping.

Wolfe is William Fretwell’s biological father. Court records show Karissa Fretwell took Wolfe to court to prove he was the father and he was subsequently ordered to pay child support and health insurance.

A probable cause affidavit outlined evidence in this case leading to Wolfe’s arrest, including Wolfe’s cell phone records, surveillance video from Wolfe’s workplace in McMinnville and his statements to detectives.

An autopsy determined Karissa Fretwell’s cause of death was a single gunshot to the head. The manner of death was ruled a homicide. The cause and manner of the child’s death are still being determined, according to Berry.

A gun was recovered during an early search for the Fretwells, according to Berry, but he did not say if investigators believe it was the weapon used in their deaths.

Karissa and William Fretwell were last seen May 13. Berry said it is believed they had been killed by May 16, but did not elaborate on where the killings occurred.