The missing student was found in the man’s basement almost a week after she had gone missing.
A teenager from Utah who was kidnapped by a man she met online has been found alive in the man’s basement thanks to a text she sent to her parents before she had officially been reported as missing.
Madelyn Allen, 19, was rescued by authorities on Saturday December 18 – five days after disappearing from her dorm room at Snow College in Ephraim, Snow College Police Chief Derek Walk told a press conference.
Walk said: “We don’t have a lot of information about him. We met him for the first time last night. We don’t know how extensive his relationship or her knowledge of him is thus far.
“This is an ongoing investigation. There are certain aspects we are still digging into and trying to understand fully.”
According to KSTU, Brent Neil Brown, 39, was arrested on Sunday morning, having been booked on four felony counts: aggravated kidnapping, rape, object rape and obstruction of justice.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that court documents show that the pair met online and decided to meet in person on December 13.
College security footage shows the student leaving her dorm room on Monday night. Her roommates reported her missing when she did not return the next day.CCTV showed Allen leaving her dorm to meet the man (credit: Snow College)
In the days that followed, the man apparently became violent and took away her phone, allowing her to text her family only once on the morning of December 14.
According to court documents, he tied her up while he was at work, took away her wallet and threw away her phone when he discovered that the police were searching for it. He also “threatened her, saying if she left or told anyone about him, he would come after her family and sister,” court documents added.
When the missing student texted one of her parents “I love you” at around 7am on the morning of December 14, they went to the cell phone carrier to find out the location of the phone.
This established that the text had been sent from Loa, about 87 miles from Ephraim, where she was last seen.
— Snow College (@SnowCollege) December 20, 2021
Police conducted a search throughout the town of about 500 people. There, they “observed through a basement window a person with light-coloured hair and a small build in the basement” in a house on Main Street.
The man answered the door and told police he was alone in the house. When they later searched the home, they found Allen in a basement coal room.
A vigil was held at Snow College to pay tribute to the those who helped find the student.
NOW: A vigil for 19-year-old Madelyn Allen who was found alive and safe last night
It’s to show their gratitude for those who helped find Maddie
— Jordan Burrows (@jordan_burrows) December 20, 2021
“We got the phone and he called as he (police chief) did many times and he said I have her and we dropped to our knees,” said Jonathan Allen, the teenager’s father. “We were so grateful, elated. We couldn’t describe the feelings that we had as we embraced each other.”
Her mother, Taunya Allen added: “We are so excited to have our Madelyn home. We love her so much and she has been such a light and joy in our lives. We are so grateful that we can continue our lives together with her.”