Wisconsin Father Stabbed Teen Daughter to Death in Bathtub, Complaint Says

travis christianson

Mugshot/Facebook Travis and Addrianna Christianson.

A criminal complaint alleges that the Wisconsin father accused of stabbing his teenage daughter to death attacked the helpless girl in the bathtub, where police found the teen lying wounded in bloody water.

The complaint accuses Travis Christianson, a Madison elementary school custodian, of murdering his biological daughter, identified by the medical examiner’s office as 13-year-old daughter Addrianna Christianson.

The motive for the grisly attack is not clear, although the complaint does say the mother asked the father shortly before whether they should sell the couple’s house instead of refinancing it — she told officers that selling the house would lead to separation. The complaint says the bloody attack occurred when the mother went to the grocery store to get more beer for Christianson, whom she said was already intoxicated and preparing to drive to the store.

When police arrived at the single-family home, they discovered the frantic mother outside, bleeding from wounds to her arm. She said her daughter was in danger inside the house, and when police entered, they found the girl in the tub with multiple injuries, the complaint says.

You can read the criminal complaint here. Be aware that the details in it are graphic and disturbing, as are the details in this story.

According to police, the homicide occurred around 9 p.m. on July 30 inside a single-family residence in the 3000 Block of Dorchester Way.

The criminal complaint charges Christianson, 44, with first-degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon, and attempted first-degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon, with domestic abuse assessments.

Here’s what you need to know:


Police Found Addrianna Bleeding in the Bathtub From Multiple Stab Wounds

Addrianna Christianson

FacebookAddrianna Christianson

After receiving a 911 call reporting a stabbing, officers quickly arrived at the home and began searching for the 13-year-old girl. They found her in the bathtub in the second-floor bathroom. She was face down with her back facing toward the ceiling and her face submerged under water and blood, the complaint says.

Addrianna had wounds “all over” her body including her upper chest, arms and neck. They were consistent with being stabbed or cut, the complaint says. The girl also had a very deep wound in the upper chest area. Police used a chest seal to help seal it. She also had a large cut on her neck near her jugular area. Despite lifesaving measures by both police and paramedics, she was pronounced dead at 10:47 p.m. The teen had stab and cut wounds to the head, neck, torso and extremities. Multiple injuries were consistent with defensive wounds. The majority of the injuries were on the right side of the face, right chest and right abdomen.

An initial news release from the Madison Police Department said that MPD “responded to a single family home in the 3000 block of Dorchester Way for a report of a person being stabbed. MPD responded and located two injured parties as well as the likely suspect.”

The release continued, “One of the victims was transported to a local hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries. One victim died on scene from their injuries. The suspect was taken into custody and also transported to a local hospital for evaluation. The three involved parties are known to each other and there is no ongoing threat related to this incident. The Violent Crime Unit is leading the investigation.”


Addrianna’s Last Facebook Post Was About the Rain & She Would Have Been an 8th Grader This Fall

Addrianna Christianson

InstagramAddrianna Christianson

Addrianna had Facebook and Instagram pages, mostly full of pictures of her dog, the weather and other normal pursuits. “I LOVE RAIN,” her top post on Facebook, made the same week she died, said. The mother’s page mostly contains pictures of the dog and Addrianna.

A review of court records shows no prior Wisconsin criminal history for Christianson. Property records show the home is owned by Travis M. and Dawn R. Christianson.

According to Madison.com, Addrianna would have been in 8th grade this fall at Savanna Oaks Middle School in the Verona School District in Wisconsin.

“We are deeply saddened by this event and send our deepest sympathies to her family during this difficult time,” a spokeswoman for the district told the news site. “We are reaching out to students, families and staff with support services to deal with grief.”

The newspaper reported that Travis Christianson was a “custodian for the district at Glacier Edge Elementary and has been placed on administrative leave.” A neighbor described the family as seemingly normal, two parents with one child.

The father had a Facebook page, but it has no visible posts or photos. It does say he worked at Glacier Edge Elementary, studied at Madison Area Technical College, went to La Follette High School and lives in and is from Madison.

Travis did not respond to a request for a statement from police.


Christianson’s Wife Told Police He Attacked Her When She Returned From the Grocery Store

Dane Co jailTravis Christianson booking sheet.

Another person who lives in the area told police he heard a female voice screaming and then moaning sounds on and off for about five minutes. He heard the wife yelling that her husband had stabbed her and her daughter was in the house.

Another witness stated that the wife was pounding on her door and ringing her doorbell and was shouting, “help me, help me.” She was covered in blood and said Christianson had stabbed her, the complaint alleged.

When a police officer arrived at the scene after receiving a call of a stabbing, he saw a female waving in his direction and yelling at him from the front porch. He observed she had a blood-like substance on her abdomen. She stated that her daughter needed help and her husband was inside in an orange short and was possibly harming the teen, the complaint said.

A second officer arrived and helped the wife. She was bleeding from her left hand and had a stab wound to her left inside elbow area. There was blood on her shirt but no wound to her abdomen.

She stated that she went to Pick ‘n Save and when she returned home, entering through the garage door, she was met by Travis with a knife, the complaint alleges. She thought she was stabbed three times and was able to wrestle the knife away from him and run out of the house yelling for help. Officers retrieved a bloody kitchen knife with a bent tip.

Asked to describe what happened more specifically, the wife said she was sleeping about 10 minutes before 9 p.m. when Travis came into the bedroom. He turned on the light, stood near the bed for a minute and left, the complaint alleges.

She went to see what he was doing and found that he was going to go to the store to get more beer, the complaint says. According to the complaint, the wife said she would go to the store for him because she didn’t want him to “drive drunk and kill somebody.” She told him she would go to the store and get another six-pack.

She wasn’t able to get any beer because the liquor store area was closed, and when she returned home Christianson was “standing there with a long and skinny knife,” the complaint says.

When she asked about their daughter, Christianson said, “I already killed her,” according to the complaint. He then stabbed the wife, who told authorities, “He got me at least two times.” She had puncture or stab wounds to her elbow and inside of the forearm area.

After being stabbed, the wife was able to get the knife away from Christianson and ran outside to a neighbor’s house screaming for help and calling 911. The neighbor reported that police were there within about 90 seconds.

At that time, Christianson appeared in the garage doorway. He was told to get on the ground but “continued to blankly stare at” the officer and “slowly walked in his direction,” the complaint says. The officer backpedaled onto the grass and withdrew his Taser. He felt Christianson was in an intoxicated state and said Christianson ignored the officer’s commands, according to the complaint.

The officer deployed the Taser, and it appeared to strike Christianson, who curled into a fetal position and fell down onto his right side.

The police news release paints a chaotic scene when police arrived outside the Christianson home. “Christianson was taken into custody as he walked out of his home. The first responding officer spotted him, and drew his service weapon, not knowing if the suspect was still armed,” wrote police.

“Christianson ignored the officer’s orders to get on the ground. Instead, he continued to advance on the officer. The officer backpedaled, creating space, while quickly assessing the suspect’s hands. He ascertained Christianson did not have a weapon in either.”

The officer said, “I then transitioned my handgun to my non-dominant hand and removed my Taser from its holster.” According to police, “the officer successfully deployed his Taser, bringing the suspect to the ground in a fetal position.”

Police said the injured victim has been released from a hospital. The motive is not clear.

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