SALEM (AP) — Oregon authorities searching for a single mother and her 3-year-old son identified the child's biological father as a person of interest in the case Thursday, the same day they converged on two rural properties in the 10-day-old hunt.
Police in Salem, Oregon, want to question Michael John Wolfe of Gaston, Oregon, in the case.
Court papers show that the missing woman, 25-year-old Karissa Alyn Fretwell, went to court last year to establish that Wolfe was the father of her son, William.
A DNA test verified her claim, and Fretwell then filed a petition seeking more than $1,000 a month in child support from Wolfe, court records show. She has full custody of the child.
Fretwell hasn't been heard from since May 13, and her family reported her and her son missing when she didn't show up for work May 17. She is a student at Western Oregon University.
Authorities declined to comment on the court case involving Wolfe and Fretwell.
Fretwell's Facebook page is full of smiling photos of her and William, including one in the hospital right after his birth.
In her profile, she wrote "My son is my world ...Future WOU graduate, BIG DREAMER!"
Fretwell's sister did not immediately return a message sent through Facebook.
SALEM (AP) — Democrats in the Oregon Legislature pushed through a gun control bill Thursday after they sacrificed a more sweeping one — to the ire of student activists — in a deal with minority Republicans.
The bill senators passed 25-3 on Thursday is aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and stalkers.
Gov. Kate Brown told reporters earlier Thursday she looks forward to signing what she called "the domestic violence bill" that earlier passed the House.
"We have been able to make incremental progress as I have been governor, and we will continue to do so in a strategic and thoughtful manner," Brown said.
Brown was behind an agreement to drop legislation that would have allowed businesses to raise firearms purchasing age from 18 to as high as 21, and require safe storage of firearms.
That deal was struck to get the minority Republican senators, who were boycotting the Senate to freeze its activities, back into the chamber to allow passage of an education tax bill. Democrats also ditched a bill that would have limited exemptions for children receiving immunizations as part of the agreement.
Students complained that lawmakers "used our safety like a bargaining chip." Concern about school shootings were heightened after a student walked into a Portland high school classroom with a shotgun on Friday. The school's football coach wrestled the weapon away as students fled.
Brown on Thursday commended coach Keanon Lowe, a former University of Oregon star wide receiver, for "his very selfless act last week preventing what I think could have been a very horrible situation."
Several student protesters came to the Oregon State Capitol on Thursday, but Brown said she would not be meeting with them.
"But I'm absolutely thrilled that they're here in the building," she told reporters. "I think it's so critical, if we're going to continue to make progress around firearm safety, that students remain engaged."
The bill closes a loophole that allowed domestic abusers to hold on to their firearms. House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson, who sponsored the measure, said a 2015 bill didn't lay out exactly how courts would take away firearms. Some domestic abusers were able to hold on to their weapons by avoiding court hearings.
The new bill prohibits a person subject to certain court protective orders from possessing firearms if the person didn't request a hearing, failed to appear for one or withdrew a hearing request.
On average, over 45 women in the United States are shot and killed by intimate partners each month, according to testimony from Trish Garner of the American Association of University Women of Oregon. Roughly 4.5 million women say an intimate partner has threatened them with a gun, she said.
Lift Every Voice Oregon, an interfaith group that backs gun control, presented to lawmakers on May 15 a letter signed by over 150 faith leaders in Oregon supporting gun control measures, including the one that was killed.
"Youth have cried out for an end to gun violence; in some recent cases, youth have even felt compelled to sacrifice their lives to save their classmates," the group wrote. "We as adults must do more to protect them."
Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, who sponsored the gun measure that was sacrificed, has vowed to work on gun reform in the future.
ASHLAND (AP) — Authorities say a man fell from a hiking trail and died northeast of Ashland.
The Jackson County Sheriff's Office says authorities received a call at 8:08 p.m. Wednesday from a woman reporting that a man had fallen from the Lost Falls trail.
The sheriff's office says deputies and other emergency personnel responded and found the man's body in the water at the base of a 100-foot (30-meter) cliff.
The man was identified as 63-year-old Michael Brewster of Medford.
County search and rescue crews returned Thursday morning to recover Brewster's body during daylight hours.
An investigator with the Jackson County Medical Examiner's Office accompanied search and rescue crews during the recovery effort. The cause and manner of death is under investigation.
COOS BAY — A man was arrested early Thursday morning in Coos Bay for assaulting a woman following a verbal argument.
Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Bay Park Lane at about 1:35 a.m. where they learned a fight had occurred in a tent placed on the back portion of the property.
According to a press release by the Coos County Sheriff’s Office, Ely Holmes, 42, and a woman inside the tent had gotten into a verbal argument about a cat running across her face.
The woman appeared to have a large bruise with swelling near her right eye as deputies separated the two and continued their questioning.
“Deputies determined the injury had been caused by Ely in the course of the argument,” said the press release. “Domestic assault in the fourth degree is a mandatory arrest in the state of Oregon. Although, (the woman) did not want to be a victim and interfered with the investigation, Ely was taken into custody without further incident.”
Holmes was taken to the Coos County Jail and booked for assault in the fourth degree.
COOS BAY — Authorities attempted to arrest a man who escaped from them multiple times Wednesday night in Coos Bay.
According to a press release by the Coos County Sheriff’s Office, at about 7:43 p.m., deputies patrolling near Cape Arago Highway and Widahl Lane spotted a vehicle associated with Jimmie Rozier, 38, in the area.
Deputies followed Rozier, who had a warrant for his arrest, into the parking lot of the Davey Jones Locker grocery store. As deputies approached the front passenger, Rozier exited the car and fled on foot.
“The deputy advised Jimmie he was under arrest and to stop running multiple times,” said the press release. “Jimmie continued to run.”
A Taser was used on Rozier to get him to stop, but had no effect. According to the press release, a civilian also attempted to stop Rozier by opening her car door as he ran by. He was struck on his left side, but continued to run.
“The deputy deployed pepper spray at Jimmie who then stopped running and got on the ground,” said the press release. “The deputy advised Jimmie not to make any further movements. Jimmie made a sudden movement to get up and more pepper spray was deployed.”
Rozier was taken into custody without any further incident and transported to the Coos County Jail. He was booked for parole warrant, escape in the third degree and is currently being held without bail.