What Happened to Maddi Kingsbury? Murder Case That Went Viral on TikTok Explained

The public let out a defeated sigh when the body of 28-year-old Madeline “Maddie” Kingsbury was found on June 8, 2023. The mom of two had been missing since March of that year, and her sister, Megan Kingsbury, had been keeping TikTok up to date with the case. Ahead of the release of 48 Hours: The Disappearance of Maddi Kingsbury, viewers are wanting to know what happened in the murder case.

What Happened to Maddi Kingsbury?

On March 31, 2023, Maddi had not contacted her sister, Megan, an out-of-character move for the mom of two. Megan reached out to the father of Maddi’s children, Adam Fravel, who similarly said that he hadn’t heard from Maddi and was at his parents’ home with their two kids. By April 5, 2023, Winona Police called Maddi’s disappearance “involuntary” and “suspicious,” and a massive manhunt took place two days later.

Fravel became a person of interest in the case, though vehemently denied having anything to do with Maddi’s disappearance. "During these last 12 days I have cooperated with law enforcement at every turn, including sitting down for multiple interviews with Winona County law enforcement,” Fravel said at the time through his attorneys. “I did not have anything to do with Maddi's disappearance. I want the mother of my 5-year-old and 2-year-old to be found and brought home safely. I want that more than anything.”

In the 68 days that Maddi was missing, her sister, Megan, documented the search for her on social media, capturing the public’s attention and pleading for Maddi to be returned home safely. “My sister is still missing,” Megan said in one of her TikTok videos, updating followers. “Police and other law enforcement are obviously still searching, everyone’s frustrated, and we just can’t figure out where she is.”

June 2023 brought significant developments to the case. On June 5, a judge denied Fravel’s petition to have custody of his two children, ensuring that the kids stay with Maddi’s parents. Just two days later, human remains were found and Fravel was taken into custody.

On June 7, the remains were positively identified as Maddi’s, and Fravel was charged with second-degree murder two days later. Police revealed that her body had been found wrapped in a bed sheet which was then held together by black tape.

Adam Fravel Was Charged With 1st-Degree Murder

Throughout his time in the legal system in connection to Maddi’s murder, Fravel has maintained his innocence. In October 2023, Fravel faced a heightened indictment of two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder, after initially being charged with just two counts in the second degree.

In January 2024, Fravel filed a motion to dismiss the first-degree murder charge as well as to move any future trial out of Winona County, Minnesota. As for the reasoning behind the motion, Fravel’s attorneys argued that there is not enough evidence to warrant the heightened charge.

"An extensive review of the grand jury transcripts in this matter shows that the grand jurors were not presented sufficient evidence as to premeditation to establish the offense," the motion stated. As for the request to move any future trial, Fravel’s team argued that the extensive media coverage of the case has influenced levels of “prejudicial” perspectives.

Fravel has appeared in court for pre-trial motions as of publication, though a decision has not been handed down.


Maddi Kingsbury’s Case Will Be Featured on ‘48 Hours’

Maddi’s story and the nature of her case will be featured on 48 HOURS: The Disappearance of Maddi Kingsbury, on April 13, 2024. Her sister, Megan, takes part in the documentary episode and recalls a comment Fravel made 18 months before Maddi’s disappearance.

“You know if you don’t start listening up ... you know you’ll end up like Gabby Petito,” Fravel said to Maddi, according to Megan, referring to the murder of the young vlogger by boyfriend Brian Laundrie. Adam admitted to the comment in a criminal complaint, claiming that he was “joking” while denying any physical abuse between him and Maddi.

48 Hours will feature in-depth reporting from Peter Van Sant, and will be available on the CBS Television Network and Paramount+.