Tragedy has hit us close to home. A loving young mother of two from Winona went missing on Friday, March 31st shortly after dropping her children off at daycare.
Her name is Madeline Kingsbury, or Maddi, for short. I've never met Maddi, but I'm friends with some of her family members and they describe her as a kind hearted, hard working, smart young woman who loves her children. Her sudden disappearance from home where a cell phone, purse, and coat remained is a mystery to family and the community. Temperatures that day were in the low 30s with a mixture of rain/snow in the area - so leaving home purposely without a coat and other items seems highly unlikely.
Sequence of events
On Friday morning, Maddi logged into work remotely at 7:20 AM. She worked as a clinical research coordinator at Mayo in Rochester. At 8:03 AM, her and the father of her children, Adam Fravel, dropped their children off at daycare. Megan Kingsbury, Maddi's sister, texted with her at 8:13 AM and that was the last communication anyone outside of her residence had with her.
Adam told authorities that he was with Maddi from daycare drop-off until about 10:00 am, before heading out to run errands for about an hour. When he returned, she was no longer there according to his statements.
(Image of Maddi with Adam and one of their children)
When Maddi didn't return phone calls or texts and wasn't present at daycare pick up, a friend called the Winona PD to do a well check. It was unlike her to not communicate or be there for her children.
Police say they have video of a van that fit the description of Maddi's, a 2014 Dark Blue Chrysler Town & Country minivan, traveling from Winona down to Rushford along Hwy 43 and then again traveling back to Winona in a timeframe between 10 am and 1:30 pm.
The van remained at the residence from 1:30 pm beyond. Both Maddi's residence and the van have been searched by law enforcement. Details of what that search are not being publicly released at this time.
Below is an image of the route between Winona and Rushford. Google Maps estimates the distance would take 26 minutes to drive.
What makes this case interesting, and is the massive elephant in the room, is that Adam is from Mabel, MN, which is just south of Rushford along the Iowa border. The primary search area appears to be the rural, wooden area between Rushford and Mabel, even though we are not aware of any evidence showing the van being spotted south of Rushford.
Here's a look of that terrain and the area that had a large search effort on Saturday:
A complicated relationship with Maddi has led many to speculate he is behind her disappearance. If he was behind it, did he take her to an area that he grew up and knew well? The remoteness of parts of Fillmore County would allow someone to move in the middle of the day and not be detected by many people.
In my view, law enforcement clearly sees him as the main suspect since the search area is focused on where he grew up and where his family still resides. The children were removed from his custody since last Tuesday, which makes things even more suspicious. But of course, this is pure speculation at this point. We don't know.
Amazing Show of Support for Maddi
On Good Friday (April 7th), an estimated 1,800 people came out to help with the search efforts. By Saturday, two volunteer locations were set up (Winona Fire Station and Rushford HS) with buses to transport people to search areas. Many more scoured the bluff country looking for any signs, including myself, who was visiting family across the river in Wisconsin.
The problem is the search area covered a geographical area that encompassed eastern Fillmore county, with many rural roads and large blocks of wooded forests and steep, hills that make up the iconic bluff country. The majority of the land is privately owned, with state forests and Wildlife Management Areas making up a small portion. Finding clues in an area like this is like finding a needle in a haystack.
Family and law enforcement are at a crossroad right now. No known crime has been committed at this point and more evidence is needed in order to dwindle down the search area. Any clues or RING camera footage from residents in the area would be a tremendous help at this stage. The family has offered a $50,000 reward for information that leads to finding Maddi.
Photos of Maddi Kingsbury
Maddi had the following tattoos