The Prior Lake couple were in the process of getting a divorce. Friends of the victim said they had warned her to move out.
On the day their divorce was to become final, Charles Maddox Jr. was charged with second-degree murder in the strangling death of his wife, Ruth Anne Maddox.
According to the charges filed Friday in Scott County District Court, Maddox Jr. admitted that he had killed his wife, a popular reporter for the Shakopee Valley News, and hid her body in the garage of their Prior Lake condominium.
Maddox, 43, remains in the Scott County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail. His attorney, Larry Rapaport, said the whole story remains to be told.
"What happened, happened; it's a very tragic event and I feel for everyone involved," Rapaport said. "But justice is going to have to take its course and the truth is going to have to come out on both sides. I don't want him totally condemned until we have all the facts here."
Amy Cobb said her sister had married Maddox about five years ago and within a few years he had begun to withdraw, drinking more and avoiding family events.
At least once this year, Cobb said, Ruth Anne Maddox confided that he had hit her.
Three weeks ago, Ruth Anne Maddox filed for divorce. The paperwork was moving fast, but in the meantime she had refused to move out and leave her cat and beloved pit bulls, Quincy and Roxy, behind.
Maddox didn't handle the news of the divorce well, according to court documents, and family members urged Ruth Anne to return to her native Indiana. Ruth Anne had reassured Cobb that things were fine.
But that all apparently changed on Tuesday.
That morning, Ruth Anne Maddox's co-workers at the Shakopee Valley News received a text message saying she had a doctor's appointment and would be late for work. Colleagues told police that it was "very unusual" for her to contact them via text message and that calls went directly to her voice mail.
A male friend of Ruth Anne Maddox also received a text message from her phone at 11 a.m. Tuesday that read "I'm not having a good morning."
No one was home when police knocked on the door of the condo at 16492 Timber Crest Dr. at 4:40 p.m. Tuesday, but two hours later, Charles Maddox Jr. answered the door. He had two scratches on his nose, said he didn't know where his wife was and would not allow police inside.
Police returned shortly after 9 p.m., but Maddox Jr. again refused to let them in.
When police returned with a warrant shortly after 3 a.m. Wednesday, Maddox Jr. said, "I might as well save you the trouble; you will find Ruth Anne's body in the garage."
He told police that he and his wife had fought Monday evening, and that she had attacked him with a screwdriver and knife. Maddox Jr. told police that he put his knee on her arm that held the knife and choked her.
Police found her body wrapped in what appeared to be a tent covered by a blanket. Preliminary autopsy results indicate that she died of blunt force head and neck injuries.
The couple's pets were not harmed.
News of Ruth Anne Maddox's death sent shock waves through the south metro area. In just over four years as a reporter in the community, Maddox had become well-known, and she was eulogized in dozens of messages of condolence posted to the newspaper's website this week.
Before moving to Minnesota, she had worked for 16 years at the Times-Union in Warsaw, Ind.
Ruth Anne Maddox's lifelong friend, Colleen Hatami, of Crown Point, Ind., said Charles and Ruth Anne Maddox were high school classmates at Morton High School in Hammond, Ind., but they didn't reconnect until their 20-year class reunion. They married shortly after and returned to Minnesota, where Maddox Jr. lived, Cobb said.
According to the complaint, Ruth Anne Maddox's adult daughter, who lives in Indiana, told police that soon after her mother filed for divorce she received text messages from Charles Maddox Jr. that "he would never allow Ms. Maddox to leave him."
Maddox Jr. will make his next court appearance Dec. 29. In the meantime, Rapaport, his attorney, said there are more victims in the case that meet the eye.
"What can I say,'' Rapaport said. "He would hope that everyone knows he loved this woman, he cared for this woman, and there's a lot that happened here that the public doesn't know about."
Abby Simons • 612-673-4921