Less than two weeks after 26-year-old Madeline Jane Kingsbury vanished in mysterious circumstances, county health and human services officials have gained custody of her kids.
After social workers took Kingsbury’s 5-year-old and 2-year-old children away from their father, Adam Fravel, earlier this month, Winona County District Judge Mary Leahy ordered on Wednesday that they remain in custody.
According to a staff member in his office, Tom Braun, Fravel’s lawyer in this matter, is not taking questions from the media. Madeline’s sister, Megan Kingsbury, stated that the family was unable to speak at this time. Requests for response from the Kingsbury family’s lawyer went unanswered.
Court records state that on April 4, social workers and law enforcement attempted to impose a 72-hour hold on the kids as a result of Madeline Kingsbury’s disappearance. County investigators discovered Fravel does not have custody rights over Kingsbury’s children, leaving the youngsters without a guardian now that Kingsbury is no longer alive.
According to a petition for children in need of protective assistance, authorities discovered Kingsbury’s kids with Fravel in a relative’s house. Social workers were denied access to the children by Fravel and his family; the petition claims that at one time Fravel brought the youngest kid inside and locked the door while yelling profanities.
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According to court documents, Fravel eventually phoned his lawyer, which convinced his family to compromise. Only the clothing that the kids were wearing was taken from the house.
The children are “safe, and they are doing well,” Megan Kingsbury told Rochester’s KTTC-TV, which broke the story on the county’s efforts to take custody of the kids late Wednesday.
Officials from the county will decide how much contact Fravel and his family will have with the kids. On May 15, a pre-trial hearing is scheduled, and the custody trial is scheduled for June 6 and 7.
Fravel and Kingsbury were last seen on March 31 dropping off their kids at a daycare center. She failed to pick up her children from daycare or arrive for work at Rochester’s Mayo Clinic. Police found her phone, wallet, ID, and a jacket from earlier in the day after searching her van and house.
According to Winona police, Fravel claimed to have driven Kingsbury’s van away from her home at around 10 a.m. but failed to spot her when he returned later that day. Kingsbury’s disappearance had no known suspects, according to the police.
In a statement made public on Wednesday by his lawyer Zachary Bauer, Fravel expressed his hope for Kingsbury’s safe return and denied any participation in her absence.
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