The ex-boyfriend of a Winona, Minn., woman who had been missing since March and whose body was found this week has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder.
Adam Fravel was arrested Wednesday and on Friday appeared before a judge in Winona County District Court to face charges in connection with the death of Madeline Kingsbury.
A judge set unconditional bail at $2 million, but at $1 million with conditions.
"This is just the beginning of the case," said Winona County Attorney Karin Sonneman during a briefing Friday afternoon. "We have heard from so many in the community what a wonderful person Maddi was. She had a bright future and Mr. Fravel took that from her. We intend to hold him accountable to the fullest extent of the law."
Sonneman said her office filed second-degree murder charges because a grand jury is necessary for first-degree charges, and based on evidence, "we felt we could prove [second-degree] with certainty."
But she didn't rule out additional charges in the future as the investigation continues.
Meanwhile, proceedings will continue in Winona County Family Court to determine who will get custody of the couple's two children, ages 2 and 5. Fravel is the father of Kingsbury's children.
According to the charges, Kingsbury, 26, was last seen with Fravel dropping off their children at day care in Winona on the morning of March 31.
That night, a friend of Kingsbury's contacted police because she was concerned about Madeline's health and safety. The friend had not heard from Kingsbury all day despite seeing Kingsbury's minivan in the driveway and even knocking on her door, only to get no answer. She also knew Kingsbury was scheduled to work that day at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
The friend told police that Kingsbury and Fravel, who were living together, had been having problems. Police came to the residence they shared and found no one home. Officers called Kingsbury's father and learned no one in her family had heard from her that day either, something that was "uncharacteristic," the charges said.
Fravel told officers in a phone conversation that he picked up the kids at day care after Kingsbury failed to do so and took them to his parents' home in Mabel, near where Kingsbury's body was found, the complaint said.
The next day, police executed a search warrant at the home and found Kingsbury's phone, wallet, ID and a jacket she had worn the previous day. They determined that Kingsbury had texted her sister at 8:15 a.m. March 31, but no further messages or calls were made.
In follow-up conversations, Fravel told authorities the couple — who had had an on-and-off relationship over seven years — were splitting up. Kingsbury had begun a relationship with another man and was looking at apartments in the area for her and the children. He also told police Kingsbury was the primary income earner for the family.
On the day of her disappearance, Fravel said he saw Kingsbury go downstairs to her home office and assumed she would then head to Rochester for work. He planned to spend the day moving items between his parents' home near Mabel and Midwest Storage in Winona. He left in Kingsbury's van about 10:15 a.m. and returned to the couple's home about 11:30 a.m. He did not see Kingsbury at the residence, the charges said.
Fravel told law enforcement that he texted Kingsbury several times during the day but did not get a reply, which is why he picked up the kids and took them to Mabel. During conversations, he also told law enforcement that he told Madeline that if she "did not listen up, she would end up like Gabby Petito," a reference to the 22-year-old cross-country traveler who was killed by her boyfriend. Fravel admitted being "infatuated" with the case, the charges said.
Others expressed concerns about violence in the home, citing an instance when Fravel put his hands around Kingsbury's throat and another when he struck her in the face while she was on a video call with a friend, the charges stated.
Investigators obtained videos from security cameras and motion detection devices at several residences and businesses in the Winona neighborhood where Kingsbury and Fravel resided and along the route Fravel stated he took going to his parents' residence the day she went missing.
Investigating officers learned that property about a mile off Hwy. 43 in Fillmore County had been routinely maintained by one or more Fravel family members and was near his parents' home. Officers searched the area and on Wednesday found Kingsbury's body in a culvert adjoining the gravel road.
The body had been wrapped in what appeared to be a grey fitted bed sheet that had been closed with black "Gorilla" tape, the charges said.
Investigators noted that during a previous search of the couple's Winona residence they observed a roll of black Gorilla tape that appeared to be same color and width as the tape found on the gray fitted-sheet that Madeline was wrapped in.
Investigators noted the fitted sheet was similar to other bedding at residence the couple shared. Pillows with gray pillow cases were found on an air mattress missing a fitted sheet, the complaint said.
The medical examiner identified the body as Kingsbury, and a preliminary autopsy report determined her death was a homicide. The medical examiner noted a knotted towel had been wrapped around her head and ruled her death " homicidal violence."