Estranged Husband Allegedly Lured Wife to Her Death After She Fled Across the Country: FBI
Jarvis Madison, an Indiana man charged with murdering his wife after she tried to flee his alleged abuse, allegedly followed her and lured her to her death
A federal criminal complaint obtained by PEOPLE details some of the harrowing history of Madison’s alleged abuse against his wife, Rachael Madison, who was found dead last week after vanishing in November.
According to the documents, Jarvis was charged with kidnapping resulting in death after allegedly admitting to following Rachael to Florida and luring her into his car — which became the scene of her death.
Along with his confession, Jarvis also allegedly led FBI agents to his wife’s remains on the side of a highway exit in Kodak, Tennessee, according to the documents. Authorities further claim images of her dead body were recovered from Jarvis’ cell phone.
Jarvis became the main suspect in his wife’s disappearance after she went missing on Nov. 27. Authorities say that the week before she vanished, Rachael fled Indiana to escape her husband, who relatives told police was abusing her. She planned on starting a new life with her aunt in Ormond-by-the-Sea, Florida.
After days of searching, Jarvis was picked up by federal agents on Dec. 2 in Louisville, Kentucky, and taken in for questioning.
During his interview, he allegedly admitting to driving down to Ormond Beach to see his wife. When he met her, they allegedly kissed, the complaint states, and she got into his car.
“While traveling inside his vehicle, either in Florida, Georgia, or another state, [Jarvis] shot [Rachael] three times and she died,” the complaint alleges. He also allegedly told investigators he buried Rachael in the Great Smoky Mountains.
On Nov. 28, days after apparently returning from Florida, Jarvis allegedly stopped by a friend’s home in West Virginia for a meal and hot shower, the complain states.
Investigators later spoke to the woman, who described Jarvis that day as seeming “tired.” It is unclear whether Rachael was still alive when he visited.
Jarvis: ‘I Am Going to Send Her to Hell’
In the original police report, Rachael’s aunt, Thelma Newsom, told police Rachael moved to Florida days before her disappearance to get away from Jarvis.
On Nov. 14, Jarvis allegedly held Rachael hostage at gunpoint and fired a gun at her after finding out she wanted to leave him, the police report states.
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According to the report, citing Newsom, Rachael was covered in scars from her husband’s alleged abuse — including one on her back, after Jarvis allegedly poured acid on a tattoo, and several on her neck, after Jarvis allegedly cut her with a knife.
The couple were homeless and lived between motels in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, police say. In one instance, the federal complaint details, Rachael called Newsom for help. When Jarvis saw that his wife was talking to her aunt, Jarvis told Newsom she would be burying Rachael.
“I am going to send her to hell,” he allegedly said, “I am going to kill her.”
Days before Rachael vanished, Jarvis frequently called her and her family members, threatening to kill her if she did not come back to him, the police report alleges. On the day of her disappearance, Newsom claimed Jarvis tried one last time to reach his wife, 30 minutes before she went for a run.
During his interview, Jarvis allowed authorities to search his car, a silver Honda Pilot.
Inside the vehicle, investigators discovered what they believed to be the murder weapon: a loaded .45 caliber pistol. According to the complaint, the passenger seat had a “substantial amount of stains” of blood and a receipt for a shovel, as well as the victim and suspect’s cell phones.
Images of Rachael’s body were recovered from Jarvis’ cell phone, the complaint states.
Jarvis remains behind bars in Clark County, Indiana, awaiting extradition, FBI officials tell PEOPLE. He has not entered a plea to his federal kidnapping charge, and it was not immediately clear if he has retained an attorney.
At an arraignment Tuesday in Indiana, on state criminal confinement charges, he spoke with reporters about Rachael’s death but denied involvement, according to WLKY.
“I didn’t kill her,” he said, the station reported. He also said he didn’t kidnap her and said, “I love my wife.”
Rachael’s family could not be reached for comment. But according to the police report, her time in Florida away from Jarvis had been productive.
“She began writing positive entries in a daily journal for her children to read and was currently working on a resume to obtain employment,” the report states. “Her father was in the process of obtaining her a vehicle for transportation, and things were starting to turn around in a positive manner.”