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Adam Fravel charged with murder in Madeline Kingsbury's death

Madeline Kingsbury’s ex-partner charged with her murder
Madeline Kingsbury’s ex-partner charged with her murder 01:49

WINONA, Minn. -- Charges were filed Friday against Adam Fravel, the ex-partner of Madeline Kingsbury, a southern Minnesota woman whose remains were found Wednesday over two months after her disappearance.

Fravel, 29, is charged with one count of second-degree murder and one count of second-degree unintentional murder in Winona County. He made his first court appearance at 11 a.m. Friday, where his bail was set at $2 million.

Criminal complaint details

According to the criminal complaint, a friend called police on the evening of March 31, saying she was worried for Kingsbury's safety because she hadn't heard from her, and citing that Kingsbury and Fravel were going through some problems. 

When police contacted Fravel, he said he hadn't heard from Kingsbury since early in the morning. He'd dropped off their 2-year-old and 5-year-old children at daycare with her, and she was supposed to pick them up at the end of the day.

Police conducted a search of Kingsbury's home on April 1. They found her laptop, cell phone, and jacket at the home, and the last text she'd sent had been at 8:15 a.m. the day before.

TIMELINE: Madeline Kingsbury's disappearance and death

Fravel told police that he and Kingsbury had an "on and off again relationship" for seven years. They were, however, in the process of moving out of the home, the complaint states.

On March 31, Fravel said he'd intended to take some items to his parents' home in Mabel, about an hour south of Winona. However, he realized when he got to an area near Choice, in Fillmore County, that he was taking the wrong set of items, and turned back around. 

Law enforcement were able to obtain security footage from the area near Kingsbury's home. Fravel could be seen replacing the front license plate on Kingsbury's van around 9:45 a.m. He went to the gas station around 10 a.m. and came home half an hour later.

MORE: Madeline Kingsbury's sister after Adam Fravel arrest: "The whirlwind is just starting all over again"

At approximately 11:30 a.m. the van drove away from the home and could be seen on Highway 43, going southbound towards Rushford and Mabel, the complaint says. It was seen again around noon, still going south.

However the complaint says the van could be seen again going north on Highway 43 about 45 minutes later. It was then parked back at Kingsbury's home around 1:30 p.m.

Investigators say they traveled the route Fravel said he'd driven on March 31, and apart from the 45 minute time period between when he was seen going south and north, the times are consistent with regular travel times between those two locations.

The criminal complaint notes that police had received a concerned person's report that Fravel was "infatuated" with the case of Gabby Petito, whose disappearance spurred nationwide attention in late 2021. Petito was strangled to death by her fiancé and found months later in a Wyoming park.

Documents go on to describe an incident in which a friend watched Fravel strike Kingsbury in the face on video call. There were also a series of texts from September of 2021 when Kingsbury said she was upset that Fravel had put his hands on her neck in front of their children. Fravel responded with "you'll adjust."

Sixty-nine days since her disappearance, Kingsbury's body was found Wednesday a mile from Highway 43 between Choice and Mabel, a few minutes from Fravel family property. She was found wrapped in a bed sheet and closed with black tape, which matches items found in Kingsbury's home.

The Midwest Medical Examiner's Office determined her cause of death to be homicidal violence.

Fravel was taken into custody on Wednesday evening without incident.

Fravel had initially denied any involvement in Kingsbury's disappearance. He petitioned for custody of the two children, though his request was denied by a judge on Monday. The children will stay with Kingsbury's parents in "relative foster care."

At a press conference on Friday, Winona County Attorney Karin Sonneman said her office decided not to file first-degree murder charges as the case would have had to go to a grand jury due to Minnesota law.

Sonneman said Kingsbury "had a bright future and Mr. Fravel took that from her. By charging him today with her murder we intend to hold him accountable to the fullest extent of the law."

Fravel's next court date is set for July 20.

RELATED: Kingsbury case puts a spotlight on state's missing person cases: Here's a look at the data

Women's Advocates

Crisis Line: (651) 227-8284

St. Paul & Ramsey County Domestic Abuse Intervention Project

Crisis Line: (651) 645-2824

Minnesota Day One

Crisis Line: 1-866-223-1111

Esperanza United

Bilingual crisis line: (651) 772-1611.

For anonymous, confidential help, people can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224.

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