SALEM, Ore. (KPTV/CNN) - Police say a 52-year-old man is being charged with aggravated murder and kidnapping in the disappearances of an Oregon mother and her young son.
Officers are continuing the search for 25-year-old Karissa Fretwell and her 3-year-old son, William “Billy” Fretwell. They were reported missing May 17 after family members had not heard from them in several days.
On Friday, 52-year-old Michael Wolfe was arrested on two counts of aggravated murder and two counts of kidnapping in relation to the case. Court documents state Wolfe is Billy’s biological father.
Police say they had probable cause to arrest Wolfe, but the murder charges do not mean the missing mother and son are dead. The charges could change as the investigation continues.
"We work toward the worst possible scenario and continue to hope for the best," Lt. Treven Upkes said.
Crews searched Wolfe’s home in Gaston, Ore., as part of the investigation Thursday.
A possible motive for the charges against the man has not been released.
However, Bethany Brown, a close friend of Fretwell, alleges Wolfe and Fretwell had an affair, and the man had not wanted his wife to find out about it or their son.
Court documents reveal Fretwell and Wolfe had Billy together in 2016, but she filed for a court order in 2018 to prove Wolfe was the boy’s father. Last month, Wolfe was ordered to pay child support and health insurance for Billy.
“He said, ‘Don’t ruin my marriage, and I can’t afford this $1,100 a month child support,'" Brown said.
Brown says she has no doubt in her mind that Wolfe is guilty.
"How could he do that to her and him? Little Billy, that's his son," Brown said. "I hope he rots in prison for the rest of his life."
Police only confirmed Wolfe is married, and his wife is not in any danger.