By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Wolfe arraigned on aggravated murder, kidnapping charges

Wolfe, 52, a rural Gaston resident, who was arrested Friday, May 24, appeared by video before Judge John Collins. The proceeding lasted a few minutes.

Family members of Fretwell and William sat in the back row of the courtroom with a member of the Crime Victim Services Department. They were escorted out immediately following the proceeding.

Aggravated murder is an unclassified felony. Collins told Wolfe the charge is a potential death penalty case.

The District Attorney's "information," which lays out the foundation for the charges, alleges Wolfe on or about Monday, May 13, did "unlawfully and intentionally" cause the deaths of Fretwell and William.

"There is a lot of other evidence that leads to the conclusion that they had been murdered," District Attorney Brad Berry said following Wolfe's arraignment. 

First-degree kidnapping is a Class A felony and Measure 11 charge, punishable by a mandatory minimum prison sentence.

Berry asked that Wolfe be held without bail and Collins granted the request.

Citing the complex nature of the case, Berry asked for additional time before the case is presented to to a grand jury for the purpose of handing down an indictment. Berry said witnesses must be gathered. Collins approved the extension, and set Wolfe's next court appearance for 1:30 p.m. Friday, June 7.

"I've reviewed some of the search warrants, and I'm aware of the complexities of the case," Collins said.

Portland attorney Patrick Sweeney was appointed to represent Wolfe on a "provisional" basis. He was in attendance.

The search for Fretwell and William continues. Wolfe's Gaston property and the Hopewell area have been searched extensively.

"The searching continues and is adjusted as more information is gleaned from the investigation," Capt. Chris Ray of the sheriff's office said. "At this time, we aren’t elaborating on any of the specific information."

Berry said the case is being built, since the bodies of Fretwell and William have not been located, on what he described as an "ever growing mountain" of circumstantial evidence.

The probable cause affidavit details events leading up to Wolfe being taken into custody:

A family member contacted police Friday, May 17, and reported Fretwell and William were missing from their Northwest Salem apartment.

They had not been seen since Monday, May 13, which concerned the family for several reasons. The apartment was checked by family the day police were notified. What they found was a front door that was unlocked and a television that had not been turned off.

Items Fretwell would have needed to care for William, her bank card and Oregon Trail card were in the residence, as were her glasses, which she wears all the time.

Both of Fretwell's vehicles were parked outside the apartment. Her cell phone was turned off. Family checked area hospitals and jails, which had no record of her.

Fretwell's employer was contacted, and she had not been at work since May 13. That meant she had missed three shifts, and not going to work or notifying her employer was out of character for her.

A family member said Fretwell always is in touch with family, babysitters or her employer. This family member also said Fretwell recently attended a civil proceeding with Wolfe in Polk County Circuit Court.

Investigators went to the apartment Saturday, May 18. The two vehicles were parked at the location and the residence was as initially described by the family member.

Friends of Fretwell were interviewed, and none of them had spoken or heard from her since May 13.

Wolfe was interviewed May 18 at his Northwest Phillips Road residence between Cove Orchard and Gaston.

He admitted to having an intimate relationship with Fretwell about four years ago. He said his last contact with her was when they were in court for the child support hearing. That was on Monday, April 15, He said he had not been to Salem in more than a year.

Wolfe said the hearing "did not go well," as he was ordered to pay about $900 a month in child support.

He said he did not have Fretwell's phone number or an active  Facebook  account to communicate with her.

Wolfe provided a  timeline  for the week in question, stating he worked his normal 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. shift Friday, May 10, through Monday, May 13, at Cascade Steel Rollins Mills Inc. in McMinnville. He said he was off the following week.

Also interviewed May 18 was William's babysitter. She said she babysits on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. On May 13, she met Fretwell to return William at about 4 p.m., and she was driving one of Fretwell's vehicles.

The babysitter stated that during the past three months she had conversations with Fretwell about Wolfe and his wife. Fretwell told her the pair had threatened her, saying they wanted custody of William.

On Monday, May 20, an investigator received an emergency disclosure of telephone information from AT&T, Fretwell's provider. The investigator learned that on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 14, the phone sent a text message using a cell tower localed about 1.4 miles southeast of Gaston, within the area to include the property on which Wolfe's residence is located.

The investigator also received information placing her phone in the area of Wolfe's workplace.

When he was interviewed again May 20, Wolfe said he had not had contact with either Fretwell or William recently, and did not know their whereabouts.

He said he went to work May 13, and got off work around 6 a.m. May 14. 

On Tuesday, May 21, an investigator viewed video surveillance of Wolfe at Cascade Steel. He was seen about 8:45 p.m. on May 13 leaving the area where he works, traveling in a golf cart to a carpenter shop and then walking into a tree line behind the shop where he would have access to the business parking lot.

The investigator was told by Cascade security that this action would fall "outside of protocol" at the plant.

Wolfe was seen on surveillance returning to the previously noted tree line at about 2:30 a.m. May 14. He was seen driving the cart back to his work while carrying a white trash bag that contains unknown items.

"Those would be details we couldn't share," Berry said.

About a half hour later, Wolfe is seen leaving the main building from a different door wearing his work shirt. He does not have his backpack and he is again carrying the white trash bag.

This would not be consistent with his statement that he was at work for his entire shift.

An investigator received information from AT&T for the phone identified as belonging to Wolfe. It showed the following:

* May 13, 8:55 p.m., it begins using cell towers indicating it was moving south away from Cascade Steel.

* May 13, 9 p.m., it is using a cell tower in downtown Salem that would cover the area to include Fretwell's address.

* May 13, 9:42 p.m., it is using the same tower in Salem.

* May 14, 1:38 a.m., it starts using towers indicating it was moving north.

* May 14, 1:43 a.m., it is using a tower in  Keizer , north of Salem.

* May 14, 2:12 a.m., it is using a tower near Cascade Steel, consistent with the general time he can be seen returning to work.

* May 14, 4:34 a.m., it is using a tower in the area of his residence.

"This information would be consistent with Michael and Karissa's phones being in the same approximate place during this time,"  VanDekoppel  wrote in the probable cause affidavit.

He said that based on evidence he outlined, coupled with the disappearance of Fretwell and William and the fact she has not been heard from from or seen since the time it was described that she and Wolfe were together at the court hearing - April 15 - there is probable cause to charge the defendant with the crimes.



Bill B

Thank you for the timely update

Web Design and Web Development by Buildable