Police Are Asking for Help After Mom & 3-Year-Old Boy Vanish -- Seemingly Without a Trace

At left, Karissa Alyn Fretwell poses with red hair and glasses. At right, she poses with her son.
KOIN

Oregon police are frantically searching for a 25-year-old mother and her 3-year-old, after the pair went missing last week and haven't been seen or heard from since. Karissa Alyn Fretwell and her son Billy were reported missing May 17, according to People, but the last they'd been seen by family or friends was actually May 13.

  • Neighbors are worried foul play might be involved -- especially after overhearing an alarming incident at the apartment just two months ago.

    Speaking with local TV station KOIN, Karissa's neighbor Robert Allen said he can't shake the memory of something that happened at Fretwell's apartment just two months ago.

    "We heard a man and woman arguing incredibly loud," Allen shared. "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."

    The incident came and went, and Allen more or less forgot about it. That is, until last week -- when a woman who identified herself as Karissa's sister showed up at his apartment.

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  • Allen, whose apartment faces Karissa's, says he's kept an eye on the apartment for a week now, but hasn't seen any signs of the mother or her child.

    "I have noticed that the television screen, it's been on the same screen for about a week," he said, "so obviously there's no one in the apartment."

    KOIN also reports that Karissa's car, a white Grand Am, has been parked on the street in front of her apartment since before she went missing. In the back sits a child's car seat, which is presumably Billy's. 

    Curiously, a green Mercury Mountaineer is also parked in front of the apartment -- and inside, investigators found a college financial aid application signed by Karissa. (No word yet on who that car belongs to, though.)

  • For now, authorities aren't revealing much about what they believe might be the reason for the pair's disappearance.

    Although that reluctance to say much could be because they're short on leads, it could also be because authorities don't want to put Karissa and Billy at risk of danger, if they are still alive.

    Police would not confirm or deny whether there was an ongoing custody issue between Karissa and the boy's father, according to KOIN. They also would not release where the mother was last seen or if they believe either are in any danger. Even more curious is that authorities are not commenting on whether any of Karissa's personal belongings are missing.

  • In the meantime, friends and family are sick with worry over what could have happened to the quiet young mother and her son.

    A friend, Megan Harper, told the Statesman Journal that she was supposed to babysit Billy on May 17, but she didn't hear from Karissa. In fact, the last she heard from the young mom was on May 11. During that conversation, Karissa allegedly asked Harper about installing the home camera security system Ring.

    "I feel ill with worry about William," Harper said. "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."

    Investigators are urging anyone with information about the case to call Salem Police Tips Hotline at (503) 588-8477 and leave a message for Detective Jake Burke, or call the Salem Police Department nonemergency number at (503) 588-6123.