“As deeply as we grieve, there’s so much love to fill that.” Winona community gathers to honor Madeline Kingsbury

Winona community gathers to honor Madeline Kingsbury

Winona community gathers to honor Madeline Kingsbury

It was an emotional gathering, on a somber Saturday.

“As deeply as we grieve, there’s so much love to fill that, too,” Arden Heath, a longtime friend, said quietly. “I feel it’s overflowing, honestly.”

Friends, co-workers, and many from the Winona community came together at the Witoka Tavern to honor Madeline Kingsbury, known to her loved ones as Maddi.  

“We started this journey over two months ago, not knowing what to expect,” explained Holly Stamschror. “Missing our friend, but knowing she’s gone forever. It’s a very hard concept to grasp.”

“It takes my breath away and it’s a testament to how much of an impact she’s been, just on our community — and how the community is willing to step up,” Heath added.

Police found Kingsbury’s body Wednesday, off Highway 43 in rural Fillmore County.

The mother of two had been missing since March.

Now, Adam Fravel, Kingsbury’s ex-boyfriend, and the father of her children, is accused in her murder.

“People don’t go missing here,” said Heidi Olson, who organized this gathering. “So, when something like that does, the community just bonds together.”

As they did this day.

Dozens of people appeared for a silent and a live auction — and a raffle for kids — all to help pay legal fees and care for Kingsbury’s children.

Organizers say there were a lot more people showing up than they expected.

Many were wearing T-shirts with the words ‘We will remain loud.’

That motto is a kind of vow — to keep the criminal case and Madeline’s memory in the public eye.

“So many missing person cases get forgotten,” Stamschror explained. “We stuck to that, saying because we didn’t want anyone to forget that she was gone, and we needed to find her.”

This get-together was also a way to help the community heal.

“We wanted people to have a place to come to and mourn, grieve, share memories, and stories of Maddi,” Stamschror said. “And have a fun way of raising money for the children.” 

“This has pretty shocked and horrified the community and people here have been trying to show support in every way possible I think,” noted Adam Muschler, from Winona. “I think we’re really just at the first steps of hopefully some amount of healing.”

Organizers hope to raise about $50,000.

Kingsbury’s children, aged two and five, are now staying with her parents.  

“They’ve handled themselves with grace and better than I ever could have,” Olson said. “They’re a great family.”

You could see Kingsbury’s face on T-shirts, buttons and on posters.

But you could feel the love for her everywhere.

“We’re all grieving and mourning very differently,” Stamschror said. “Because I have been helping with this, I haven’t had the time to really process that I’ll never see my best friend again.”

A celebration of Kingsbury’s life — and a vow to always support, love, and hope.

“She was getting her master’s degree and had two beautiful children and a whole life ahead of her,” Olson said. “Now that she’s brought home, it’s time for justice and she deserves that, her family deserves that, the community deserves that.”