WINONA, Minn. (FOX 9) - Search warrants unsealed on Monday in the case against Adam Fravel, the man suspected of killing his ex Madeline Kingsbury leading to a months-long search in southern Minnesota, revealed text messages sent by Fravel in the hours after Kingsbury went missing.
Fravel is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in Kingsbury's death.
The last contact Kingsbury had with her family was on the morning of March 31. Despite ongoing efforts by law enforcement and hundreds of volunteers, Kingsbury's body wasn't recovered until June 7. A Fillmore County deputy discovered the body along a remote stretch of Highway 43, just north of Mabel, Minnesota – where Fravel's family lives. Fravel was arrested shortly after the body was discovered.
The warrants document alleged abuse by Fravel that Kingsbury had reported to friends and family, allegedly warning others that if something terrible happened to her, Fravel would be the one responsible. The search warrants also discuss Fravel's apparent obsession with the Gabby Petito case – a young woman who was murdered by her boyfriend in Wyoming last year, which also sparked national media attention.
The search warrants, which sought access to social media accounts belonging to both Kingsbury and Fravel, along with emails, phone, and GPS data, included two series of text messages sent by Fravel. The first set includes the last messages Fravel sent to Kingsbury, which may have been sent after she was already dead. The second set includes an exchange between Fravel and a friend after Kingsbury's family reported her missing.
Fravel had told police that he had left the home in Kingsbury's van around 10:30 a.m. on March 31 to take some belongings to his parent's home in Mabel. He said Kingsbury had told him she was going to do some work downstairs in her office and head in to work in Rochester after.
Fravel said he sent her text messages that Kingsbury never responded to. When he got back that afternoon, he noticed his car was still there but Kingsbury was nowhere to be found.
"Got gas in van and stuff ready to go, gonna leave soon," a text sent at 10:29 a.m. from Fravel reads. "Gonna leave soon. When do you have to leave?"
"You just gonna stay home?" Fravel quickly added, with no response from Kingsbury.
At 1:33 p.m., after Fravel had returned home, he sent a follow-up message reading: "I'm back and my car is still here? You get a ride or something?"
In the other set of messages sent that night, Fravel frets over Kingsbury's family calling the police so quickly after she went missing.
"It hasn't even been 24 hours and I saw her this morning," Fravel argues. "Nobody tried to reach me at all until 7 p.m."
The breakup and abuse
The documents also detail the disintegration of Kingsbury and Fravel's relationship, including allegations of abuse by Fravel that Kingsbury had confided to her friends.
Kingsbury and Fravel shared two young children. When she disappeared, Kingsbury and Fravel were in the midst of a breakup, with Kingsbury telling Fravel to move out. The day Kingsbury disappeared was the first time Fravel hadn't spent the night at their shared residence. Kingsbury was also preparing to move to a new place in Winona.
According to the search warrants, Kingsbury had rejected Fravel's plans to move the family from Winona to Mabel, closer to his family. Kingsbury had also begun seeing a man she had met online, a relationship Fravel knew about.
More disturbing, friends told investigators that Fravel had been abusive and controlling. One friend said that Kingsbury told them that "Adam had been beating the hell out of her for years." The friend said Kingsbury warned her: "If anything happens to me, know that Adam did it."
Friends told investigators that Fravel had become abusive after the birth of their second child. Kingsbury had allegedly forced Fravel to go to therapy after a choking incident.
In the documents, her new boyfriend said Kingsbury would turn tracking off on her phone anytime she came to see him because "Adam would text her non-stop." Another friend told investigators that Fravel wouldn't allow Kingsbury to talk to the new boyfriend in his presence.
Fravel also apparently had an obsession with the death of Gabby Petito, even telling investigators he was "infatuated" with the case. The documents also allege that Kingsbury told friends Fravel had threatened her saying: "If you don't listen, you'll end up like Gabby Petito."
Fravel took steps to avoid GPS tracking
In the search warrants, authorities write that Fravel "went to great lengths to conceal the location he visited or traveled after March 30, 2023.
That includes taking steps to turn off location tracking on all of his accounts. He had also deleted location data from his iPhone and iCloud accounts. He also disabled an "advertising ID" on his iPhone that disabled third-party tracking by apps.
Investigators said cameras inside the Kingsbury home had also been taken down and their SD cards had been removed. Investigators also said Fravel controls the cameras at his home and his parent's home.
On his Facebook account, Fravel is listed as having studied computer science in college and friends said Fravel was very tech savvy. Despite a computer science degree, Fravel had not been employed for a few years and "played video games all day," the search warrants allege.
Cadaver dogs get hit on shovel
On April 10, a neighbor told investigators that his trail cameras had captured Fravel riding a Polaris Ranger on property near his parent's home in Mabel.
In the photo, a long-handled tool was visible in the bed of the Ranger.
Investigators had just executed a search warrant at the Fravel property two days before the photo was snapped on April 9. Reviewing body camera video from that search, investigators spotted a shovel with a similar handle in the Fravel garage.
Due to a burning pit at the Fravel home, authorities "froze" the residence while awaiting a search warrant. Freezing a residence allows them to detain people at the home while they await the search warrant. Despite the freeze, authorities say Fravel took off in the Ranger but was stopped at 180th Street near Highway 43.
In the bed of the utility vehicle was the shovel.
The search warrant states: