10:32 AM PST, December 20, 2021
A Utah man has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of Madelyn Allen, a student at Snow College, who was found safe on Saturday by police after missing for five days, according to published news reports.
On Saturday, Allen, 19, was found in Wayne County in the home of a 39-year-old man identified as Brent Neil Brown.
Brown is being held on suspicion of obstruction of justice, aggravated kidnapping, rape, and object rape, according to a probable cause affidavit filed Sunday in Manti’s 6th District Court. He has not been formally charged with any crimes, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
“We don’t have a lot of information about him. We met him for the first time last night,” Snow College Police Chief Derek Walk said at a Sunday afternoon news conference. “We don’t know how extensive his relationship or her knowledge of him is thus far.”
He continued. “This is an ongoing investigation. There are certain aspects we are still digging into and trying to understand fully.”
Allen, 19, was last seen on surveillance leaving her college dorm room located in Sanpete County’s Ephraim on Dec. 13 at 9:22 p.m. She was wearing a dark skirt, white fleece jacket, flats, and carrying a plastic bag, according to police reports, Inside Edition previously reported.
According to the affidavit, Allen met the man in an online “chat group” and arranged to have him pick her up Dec. 13, The Salt Tribune reported.
Allen’s roommate’s reported her missing when she did not return back to her dorm the next day, the news outlet reported.
According to court documents, the relationship between Allen and the man became non-consensual and violent, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
Allen’s parents became concerned after they received a text message from their daughter’s phone on Dec.14 around 7:20 a.m. stating “I Love You!” which was being sent was from Loa, Utah, 87 miles from Ephraim where Allen was last seen, ABC4 News reported.
The affidavit alleged that the man tied up Allen while he was at work, and threw her phone away when he discovered police were searching for her, The Tribune reported.
The man also took Allen’s wallet, and “threatened her, saying if she left or told anyone about him, he would come after her family and sister,” according to the news report.
Local, state, and federal law enforcement officials investigated and became involved in the search and used cellphone tower information to find Allen in Loa, according to court documents, the Tribune reported.
On Dec. 18, police went to Brown’s home on Main St. and saw through a basement window a person with light-colored hair and a small build, ABC 4 reported.
Once police obtained a search warrant of the home, they found a Snow College ID that belong to Allen, and a gun that was located in an open suitcase that contained clothes that appeared to belong to Allen, the news outlet reported.
Officers detained Brown. During the search warrant they found three knives on him, a report said.
Allen was later found by police in the basement of the home where coal was stored. Police said Allen was naked, covered in coal, and her hair was cut off, according to court documents, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
At the press conference, Allen’s parents, Jonathan and Taunya Allen, were overjoyed that their daughter was found and expressed gratitude for the support and outpouring of love from the community.
“We had a mindset that it would be much longer,” Jonathan said. “We got the phone call and [the police chief] said, ‘I have her.’ We dropped to our knees. We were so grateful, elated. We couldn’t describe the feelings that we had as we embraced each other.”
Taunya Allen added: “From the heart of a mother, I express my gratitude to you. To each and every one of you for the handwork, and dedication. It is amazing to see this army that has surrounded us.”
Allen continued: “We are so excited to have our Maddie home. We love her so much she has been such a light and joy in our lives. We pray for Maddie as she moves forward so she can find hope, happiness, and joy in her future,” she said.
Snow College President Bradley Cook expressed his gratitude to law enforcement, investigators, and the community that Allen is home safe, and he cautioned young people about online interaction.
“It reminds us of some dangers, especially our young people who are online,” he said “You need to be careful. We just have to be ever vigilant about those kinds of interactions.”