On June 7, 2023, 29-year-old Adam Taylor Fravel of Mabel, Minn., was taken into custody for the alleged murder of Madeline Kingsbury, 26, of Winona, Minn.
The Winona County District Court made court documents publicly available on June 9, 2023, revealing a Statement of Probable Cause to support charges against Adam Fravel for two counts of Murder in the Second Degree. Both counts of murder carry a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison – 80 years total.
Statement of Probable Cause (verbatim from court documents)
On March 31, 2023, at approximately 8:20 p.m., the Winona Police Department was contacted by a person who identified herself as a friend of Madeline Jane Kingsbury, DOB 06/01/1996. The friend reported to police that she was concerned with the health and safety of Madeline. According to the friend, Madeline had not attempted to contact or communicate with her throughout the day, which the friend indicated was unusual. The friend was concerned and had gone to Madeline’s residence, saw her minivan in the driveway and knocked on the door, and no one responded. The friend also told police that she was aware that Madeline was having issues with her significant other who also lived at the residence. The friend identified the significant other as Adam Fravel. Winona police officers met the friend at Madeline’s residence located in Winona, Winona County, Minnesota. An officer knocked on the door of the residence and looked in the windows, no one responded, and the officer did not see anyone inside. Shortly thereafter, officers spoke with Madeline’s father on the telephone and learned that her family had also not had contact with her that day. The father reported that it was uncharacteristic for Madeline not to have contact with family members or friends. A Winona police officer spoke with Adam Taylor Fravel, DOB 01/29/1994, by telephone. According to Fravel, he had not heard from Madeline since early in the morning, that she was supposed to pick up their children at their Winona daycare after she finished working, but she did not. Fravel stated he picked up the children at the daycare and took them to his parents’ residence in Mabel, Minnesota. Later that evening, officers were able to conduct a welfare check inside the Winona residence and determined that no one was inside the residence.
Law enforcement investigators have spoken with the children’s daycare provider, who confirmed that both Madeline and Fravel were present when they dropped their children off at daycare on the morning of March 31, 2023, at approximately 8:05 a.m. The daycare provider also stated that Fravel was alone when he picked the children up at the end of the day.
On April 1, 2023, law enforcement investigators obtained a search warrant for the Madeline/Fravel residence in Winona. The interior of the residence was cluttered, but there did not appear to be overt signs of a struggle. During the search, law enforcement officers located what investigators later determined to be Madeline’s cell phone, jacket, and purse in the residence. Investigators also located a laptop computer that investigators later determined Madeline used to work from home. Investigators later obtained access to the cell phone’s databases. It was determined that a text message was sent from the cell phone to Madeline’s sister on March 31, 2023, at 8:15 a.m. Investigators noted that there were no subsequent text messages or phone calls sent from Madeline’s cell phone.
Law enforcement investigators had follow up conversations with Adam Fravel on April 1 and April 2, 2023. During these conversations, Fravel told investigators that he had met Madeline at college in Winona and that they have had an on and off again relationship for the past seven years. Fravel stated that they have two children, ages five and two. Fravel indicated that Madeline worked from home and in Rochester, Minnesota. Fravel stated Madeline would generally travel to Rochester for work on Mondays and Fridays. Fravel acknowledged that Madeline was the primary income producer for the family, and she would forward him money electronically to pay the family bills. Fravel acknowledged that recently their relationship was not working, so they decided to separate and were in the process of moving out of their Winona residence. Madeline had been looking at different apartments in the area for her and the children to live in. Fravel indicated that about two weeks ago, Madeline had told him that she had begun a relationship with another man, but that he did not know how long the relationship had been going on. Fravel stated that on Friday, March 31, 2023, together he and Madeline dropped their children at daycare at around 8:00 a.m. and they drove home. Once they arrived, Madeline stated that she had an online meeting and afterwards was going to Rochester for work. He indicated he observed Madeline go downstairs to her home office.
Also during the conversations, Fravel stated he had planned to do property storage runs most of the day. His plan was to travel to his parents’ home near Mabel, Minnesota, with items he wanted to store at his parents’ residence and return to Winona and take items to Midwest Storage located in Winona. Fravel indicated that prior to leaving for Mabel, he had stopped at a gas station near his Winona residence. He said that when he loaded up Madeline’s van, he wasn’t really paying attention to what he was loading. Fravel believed he left his residence and began driving the van to Mabel at approximately 10:15 a.m.
Fravel continued with the following information. Fravel stated that when he got to Choice (an area in Fillmore County) he started thinking about what he was going to do. He said he looked to the rear in the van and realized the items he had were meant to be stored at the storage unit, not his parents’ place. He turned around in the driveway of a barn in Choice and drove back to his residence in Winona. Fravel believed he arrived at the residence at about 11:30 a.m. and emptied the van at the Madeline/Fravel residence. Fravel stated that he did not make any stops on his trip to and from Choice. When he entered the residence, he did not see Madeline. He stated he did notice his car was still home and thought that Madeline may have carpooled to Rochester. Fravel stated he remained at the residence for the remainder of the afternoon. During this time, he texted Madeline, but never got a response. Eventually, he went downstairs, and Madeline was not there. He stated that he texted Madeline regarding picking up the kids and asked about plans for supper. When she did not respond, he decided to pick up the children at daycare and drive them to his parents’ residence in Mabel.
Also during their conversations with Fravel, law enforcement disclosed to Fravel a concerned person’s report that Fravel told Madeline that if she did not listen up, that she would end up like Gabby Petito. Fravel admitted being “infatuated” with the Gabby Petito case. Fravel also admitted that he made a statement to Madeline about her ending up like Gabby Petito. Fravel claimed he was trying to make a joke. The Gabby Petito case made national news. It was the story of a twenty-two year-old woman who went missing. After extensive searches, Petito’s remains were found near a park in Wyoming. It was reported Petito died of strangulation. The media also reported that Petito’s fiance claimed responsibility for her death in a notebook.
Investigating officers spoke with a friend of Madeline who indicated that sometime in 2020 or 2021 she was on a video call with Madeline, who was at her Winona residence. Madeline was standing up, holding one of her children and cooking dinner. The friend observed Fravel enter the room and yell at Madeline to keep quiet. Madeline asked Fravel to calm down and he stated he was not going to calm down and struck Madeline in the face with his hand. It appeared that Fravel was not aware he was being observed on the video call, as when the friend yelled at Fravel over the video call he immediately left the room. The friend told investigators that there were several times during video calls that she observed bruises on Madeline’s face. When the friend inquired about the bruises, Madeline would cover them with her sweater.
Investigators spoke with a family member of Madeline’s. During that conversation, the family member discussed an earlier incident. The family member said she learned Fravel put his hands around Madeline’s throat. The family member went with another person to go get Madeline. The family member noted Madeline had a red mark on the side of her neck that day.
Pursuant to search warrants, investigating officers conducted forensic extractions on two Apple iPhones believed to belong to Madeline. A review of the forensic extractions of those two phones revealed Kingsbury as the owner and user. There were messages, as well as screen shots of messages between Madeline and Fravel, dating back numerous years. One screenshot, taken on September 21, 2021, contained the following iMessage conversation between the Madeline and Fravel:
Maddi – “You know I’m not really okay with or over the fact that you put your hand around my neck and pushed me down in front of the kids earlier so don’t”
Maddi – “Not okay with it all but especially with them there.”
Fravel – “You’ll adjust”
Maddi – “The fxxx I will”
Maddi – “You do that again without asking me and you can go somewhere else”
Fravel – “You got it mother”
Maddi – “Don’t patronize me that crossed a line.”
Fravel – “Then mind”
Maddi – “Stop.”
Law enforcement investigators were able to obtain videos from security cameras and motion detection video devices at multiple residences and businesses located in the Winona neighborhood where Madeline Kingsbury and Adam Fravel resided, and along the route Fravel stated he took toward his parents’ residence the morning of March 31, 2023. The videos reveal the following events from March 31, 2023:
9:44 a.m.—Madeline’s van is observed in the driveway of the Madeline/Fravel residence in Winona. A person in a light-colored coat is observed walking up to the front of the van, bends over, and appears to remove the front license plate on the van.
9:47 a.m.—The van is still in the driveway and the same person is observed kneeling in front of the van and appears to be reinstalling a license plate.
9:55 a.m.—A person wearing a light-colored coat or sweatshirt gets into Madeline’s van while it is parked in the driveway of the Madeline/Fravel residence in Winona.
10:00 a.m.—The van is no longer at the residence.
10:02 a.m.—The van is observed parked at the gas station where Fravel said he had gotten gas and a person wearing a light-colored jacket and matching the general description of Adam Fravel is observed pumping gas. Investigators also noted that the license plate on the van matches the license plate registered to the car Fravel normally drives and not the plate registered to the van. Investigating officers noticed that when they observed the van later in the evening on March 31 and on April 1, 2023, the license plates registered to the van were back on the van.
10:31 a.m.—The van is observed backed into the driveway at the Madeline/Fravel residence in Winona.
11:26 a.m.—The van is observed driving away from the residence.
11:44 a.m.—A van matching the description of Madeline’s van is observed traveling southbound on Highway 43 in the direction of Rushford and Mabel, Minnesota.
11:56 a.m.—A van matching the description of Madeline’s van is observed traveling southbound on Highway 43 in Rushford and in the direction of Mabel.
11:59 a.m.—A van matching the description of Madeline’s van is observed traveling southbound on Highway 43 south of Rushford and in the direction of Choice and Mabel, Minnesota.
12:44 p.m.—Approximately forty-five minutes later, a van matching the description of Madeline’s van is observed on a video from the same location traveling northbound on Highway 43 in the direction of Rushford and Winona.
12:47 p.m.—A van matching the description of Madeline’s van is observed traveling northbound on Highway 43 in Rushford.
1:00 p.m.—A van matching the description of Madeline’s van is observed traveling northbound on Highway 43 and turned east onto Winona County Road 12 in the direction of Winona.
1:28 p.m.—A van matching the description of Madeline’s van is observed in the driveway of her Winona residence.
As part of their investigation, law enforcement officers traveled the route Fravel stated he drove on the morning of March 31, 2023. Investigators noted that with the exception of the 45-minute time period between the time he is observed traveling south of Rushford on Highway 43 and later at the same location traveling northbound on Highway 43, the times are consistent with normal expected travel times between the locations.
On June 7, 2023, a deputy with the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Office was searching a rural area in Fillmore County next to a public gravel road approximately one mile from Highway 43 between Choice and Mabel, Minnesota. Investigating officers learned that this property had been routinely maintained by one or more Fravel family members. This property was also near the residence of Fravel’s parents. While searching the property the deputy located human remains in a culvert adjoining the gravel road. The remains had been wrapped in what appeared to be a grey fitted bed sheet that had been closed with black “Gorilla” tape. Investigators noted that during a previous search of the Madeline/Fravel Winona residence they observed a roll of black Gorilla tape that appears to be same color and width as the tape found on the fitted sheet that Madeline was wrapped in. Investigators also noted that the grey fitted sheet appears to be similar to other bedding at the Winona residence. Additionally, the air mattress from the Winona residence was missing a fitted sheet. On top of the air mattress without a fitted sheet were pillows that had grey pillow cases.
The human remains were transferred to the Southern Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner’s Office in Rochester, Minnesota. The medical examiner’s office identified the human remains as Madeline Jane Kingsbury from dental records and tattoos. The medical examiner noted that a knotted towel had been wrapped around Madeline’s head and neck. The medical examiner’s office performed an autopsy. A preliminary autopsy report determined the manner and cause of death as homicide and homicidal violence.
Seeking custody of children
On June 5, 2023, two days prior to his arrest for the murder of Madeline Kingsbury, Adam Fravel filed a petition with the Winona County District Court to seek custody of Ellie and Noah – their two children. Since Madeline was still missing at that time, and she was the only adult recognized as their parental guardian, Fravel was seeking guardianship. The courts had previously leaned in favor of placing the children under the care of Madeline’s parents.
David Kingsbury, Madeline’s father and hence the grandfather of the two children, filed a response with the court on June 14, 2023. A hearing is scheduled for June 29, 2023, before the honorable Judge Mary C. Leahy.