New search warrants suggest financial motivation in Kingsbury murder case

Money Could Be Motive In Kingsbury Murder

A comprehensive look of the day's local, regional and national news, detailed events, late-breaking stories and weather updates are provided by the ABC 6 News Team.

(ABC 6 News) – Recently unsealed investigative documents suggest that investigators suspected a financial motive in the killing of Madeline Kingsbury.

The Winona mother went missing on March 31, 2023, and was discovered dead in June.

Her former partner, Adam Fravel, faces 1st- and 2nd-degree murder charges in her death.

Documents related to investigation sealed in the spring

According to court documents publicly filed in early November, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension ordered April 14 that all search warrants related to the Kingsbury-Fravel case be sealed until charges had been levied.

Fravel was charged with two counts of 2nd-degree murder in July, and the charges were upgraded to 1st-degree murder in October.

RELATED: Adam Fravel charges upgraded to first-degree murder – ABC 6 News –

Afterward, the BCA and courts concluded that the search warrant seal had accomplished its task of preventing information leaks related to the case, and removed it in November.

The April seal was intended to keep a “person of interest” – Adam Fravel – from learning how much evidence law enforcement had collected in their investigation, the filing states.

Court filing sealing search warrants and other documents related to Madeline Kingsbury’s murder, April 14, 2023

RELATED: “If anything happens to me, know Adam did it”; 64 documents unsealed in Kingsbury murder trial – ABC 6 News –

In April, the same BCA agent filed a search warrant for information related to Madeline Kingsbury’s banking accounts in Rochester and Winona, alleging that the information they held might illuminate Kingsbury’s movements since March 4, about four weeks before her disappearance. 

Those search warrants were made public Dec. 8, in Olmsted County Court.

Rochester, Winona bank search

According to Olmsted County search warrants publicly filed Dec. 8, investigators believed there could have been a financial motivation in Kingsbury’s murder.

Previous coverage of Adam Fravel’s charging document and court motions have painted him as an alleged habitual abuser. 

RELATED: Prosecution to seek aggravated sentence, attempt to add evidence of abuse to court proceedings in Fravel case – ABC 6 News –

RELATED: Court docs: Fravel had history of domestic violence – ABC 6 News –

When law enforcement spoke to Fravel in early April, he stated that Kingsbury worked from home and in Rochester, MN, and was the “primary income producer” for the family.

The two lived together, but had separated recently and were both looking for alternative housing, Fravel told law enforcement.

Following the discovery of Kingsbury’s remains in June, investigators spoke to one of Kingsbury’s family members, who said Fravel had stopped working after being laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic, and “was not financially supportive.”

She recalled Kingsbury “crying over the phone because they didn’t have any money,” according to the search warrants. 

Furthermore, the family member allegedly told investigators that the pair was several months behind on rent, and worried about daycare costs.

She claimed that when Fravel acquired money, as with COVID relief checks, he spent it on personal items instead of rent or bills. 

From BCA search warrants publicly filed Dec. 8, 2023

The pair’s landlord told law enforcement that Fravel and Kingsbury had moved into their shared home in March of 2021 and split rent payments until August 2021.

From Sept. 2021 onward, the lessor told investigators that Kingsbury covered all of the rent payments in full – and had texted the landlord about late payments, noting “I have been the only one working as of late.” 

The search warrants claim that Kingsbury had planned to remain in the home until the end of May 2023 – but on March 27, she texted the lessor that she was “somewhat unexpectedly finding (her) own place…”

That text was sent four days before Kingsbury went missing. 

Loss of financial support, possibility of life insurance payout

The search warrant publicly filed Dec. 8 alleges that as Fravel was dependent on Kingsbury for financial support, and the end of their relationship in late March would have meant the loss of that support.

Furthermore, the BCA learned that Kingsbury was entitled to a “death benefit” of $170,000 from her employer, Mayo Clinic.

Kingsbury had not designated a beneficiary for the payout.

Investigators believed that the benefit would have gone to her children, and as the biological father, Fravel would have had access to the funds. 

From BCA search warrants publicly filed Dec. 8, 2023

ABC 6 News inquired with Mayo Clinic, Madeline Kingsbury’s employer, whether Fravel might have had access to any funds following her death.

“Mayo Clinic’s life insurance is administered by Prudential, in accordance to insurance policy and coverage terms,” according to Mayo Clinic public relations.

According to Mayo’s publicly listed benefit summary, if there is no beneficiary listed for a life insurance policy, the payout goes to the following, in order: (a) surviving spouse; (b) surviving child(ren) in equal shares; (c) surviving parents in equal shares; (d) surviving siblings in equal shares; (e) estate. This order will apply unless otherwise provided in the Limits on Assignments.

Fravel and Kingsbury were not married, so Kingsbury’s death benefit would likely have gone to her children, according to Prudential’s policy.

Fravel and Madeline Kingsbury’s children are currently in the custody of Madeline Kingsbury’s father and stepmother, who have attempted to block any contact between the children and Adam Fravel’s family during the criminal trial, and to force Adam Fravel to testify about the events surrounding Kingsbury’s death in family court.

RELATED: Judge: Fravel will not be called to testify in children visitation case – ABC 6 News –

Fravel’s next omnibus hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Dec. 14. A trial date has not been set.