A special prosecutor, who’s “arguably one of the best in the business,” a law enforcement source told Madeline Kingsbury’s family, is now part of Kingsbury’s “suspicious” disappearance, Fox News Digital has learned.
The 26-year-old mom hasn’t been seen or heard from since she dropped off her kids at daycare with the children’s father around 8 a.m. on March 31, and she sent her sister a “goofy” text around 8:15 a.m. the same day.
Phil Prokopowicz, who served as a chief deputy attorney in Dakota County, Minnesota, before his retirement in 2019, is consulting the Winona County Attorney’s Office, said Bonne Bowman, a spokesperson of Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
“The Winona County Attorney’s Office has brought on Mr. Prokopowicz in a consulting capacity, as they often do for cases that are potentially complex,” Bowman told Fox News Digital in an email.
To date, dozens of targeted law enforcement and volunteer-driven searches in and around Kingsbury’s home in Winona County have come up empty, but her family continues to keep hope alive.
Her brother, Stephen, an active military service member for the last 14 years, returned from oversees to help the search, and her sister, Megan, shares daily check-ins and updates on her TikTok.
This week, the Kingsbury’s family shared a 2022 video with Fox News Digital of the beloved mom laughing and playing with her kids.
They continue to keep hope alive, but the situation gets dimmer as the days pass.
WATCH VIDEO SHARED WITH FOX NEWS DIGITAL:
Bowman reiterated there’s still no suspect in this case, although foul play is suspected, and speculation has swirled around the last person to see her alive: Adam Fravel, the father of Kingsbury’s two young children.
He currently doesn’t have custodial rights to the kids and is fighting in court against Kingsbury’s family for parental rights.
Twelve days after Kingsbury’s disappearance, Fravel said in a prepared statement through his lawyer, Zach Bauer, that he “did not have anything to do with Maddi’s disappearance.”
“Over the course of the last 12 days my family and I have been subject to a myriad of accusations regarding the disappearance of the mother of my children,” Fravel said.
During a custody hearing earlier this week, lawyers “addressed the elephant in the room” – that Fravel was the last person to see Kingsbury’s before she “involuntarily” disappeared, according to police.
The judge ruled that the children will remain with Madeline’s dad and stepmom. Kingsbury’s sister, Megan, said, “That’s the outcome that we wanted, so we’re pleased with that.”
Technically, the children are in the custody of Winona County, and a potential trial for parental rights hasn’t been scheduled, as of late Thursday.
Fox News Digital obtained a trove of court filings as part of custodial battle, including a May 5 letter from Kingsbury’s family’s lawyer that alleged Fravel “was withholding the children from Ms. Kingsbury’s family during this highly emotional time.”
MEGAN KINGSBURY, MADELINE’S SISTER, REACTS TO CUSTODIAL HEARING FOR MADELINE’S CHILDREN:
“While law enforcement has stated they do not have any suspects at this time, we know Mr. Fravel was the last person to see Ms. Kingsbury,” the lawyers argued.
“Ms. Kingsbury’s family have significant concerns based upon their knowledge of Ms. Kingsbury and Mr. Fravel’s relationship that Mr. Fravel knows more about Ms. Kingsbury’s disappearance than he is letting on.”
Four days before the letter was filed, on May 1, the Minnesota Department of Human Services Out of Home Placement Plan said the investigations into Madeline’s disappearance coupled with the fact that Fravel doesn’t have custodial rights doesn’t create a safe home for the children with Fravel.
Winona County will meet with Fravel and his lawyers to “establish necessary/appropriate services to assess his ability to provide day-to-day care for the children and ensure safety and well-being,” the May 1 filing says.
Megan told Fox News Digital in a previous interview that there’s been radio silence from Fravel and his family, despite several attempts by Megan and her family to talk to them.
On April 4, there was allegedly a tense, volatile standoff between Fravel and social workers and police, who attempted to take custody of the children.
“At one point, (Fravel) took the younger child into the residence and locked the door despite being told that the children were in the care and custody of Winona County,” a petition by Winona County Health and Human Services alleges.
Law enforcement has been tightlipped about the case, because they said providing details “would jeopardize our ability” to find Kingsbury and, “if warranted, hold accountable the person or persons responsible.”
Her disappearance was described as “suspicious” and “involuntary,” according to Winona Police Chief Tom Williams.
The area in and around Winona County, Minnesota, is near the Mississippi River and includes hundreds of thousands of acres swamps, flat farmlands, woods and bluffs, as well as several bodies of water.
That will be invaluable as several law enforcement agencies and thousands of volunteers have been combing through more than 120,000 acres near the Mississippi River, which include several bodies of water, swamplands, flat farmlands, woods and bluffs.
Hundreds to over a 1,000 volunteers have helped police search for Kingsbury. Stephen Kingsbury told Fox News Digital in an email, “It’s hard to imagine how it could ever be reciprocated. Our gratitude for all involved in our efforts to bring our sister/daughter/mother home will never fade.”
“I want to take this opportunity to extend my gratitude,” Stephen said.
“We have, in a short period of time, rallied for Madeline and created/maintained a group of passionate and motivated folks from across the state who care for and love Madeline with such an intensity that I have no doubt in the steadfastness of our mission.”
Police said tips from the public have been integral to the investigation. People can call 1-800-222-TIPS or go to crimestoppersmn.org.
Police have also asked everyone in the area to check their security cameras and search their properties, many of which are large areas, to search for “anything unusual or out of place.”
“Even if you have already done this, please do it again,” police said in an April 17 press release. “The changing weather conditions might reveal new signs that weren’t there before. If you find anything concerning, call you local law enforcement agency.”
Police have also asked to preserve any surveillance footage from March 31 and April 1, even if there appears to be nothing on them.