Allen, who attends Snow College in Ephraim, was last seen leaving her apartment on Monday. She was found alive some 90 miles from where she disappeared, in the Wayne County home of 39-year-old Brent Brown, according to campus police.
Brown was taken into custody on suspicion of of obstruction of justice, aggravated kidnapping, and rape, according to court filings obtained by local reporters. He was later formally served on one count of obstruction with more charges pending, police said.
Madelyn Allen Went Missing Last Week
According to reports, Allen was last seen on Dec. 13. She had left her dorm just before 9:30 p.m. carrying a plastic bag, security camera footage later showed.
The 19-year-old was reported missing Wednesday by her family, who said they believed she might have been experiencing a “mental health crisis.” The Allens worked with school officials and police to raise awareness of their daughter’s disappearance among the campus community.
“From our family to yours, and as Maddie’s parents, we are asking for your help,” her father Jonathan Allen said in an emotional plea last week. “If greater awareness of Maddie’s story and a picture helps to bring her home, we ask you to please share this with everyone you possibly can.”
Police: Missing Teen Found at Brent Brown’s Home
After reviewing cellphone data and “other sources,” police investigators said the evidence led them to a Wayne County home.
Authorities said they saw someone matching Allen’s basic description through the basement window as they pulled up to the home, but the man who answered the door insisted he was alone in the house. Identified by his driver’s license as 39-year-old Brent Brown, police said they asked if they could come inside but were turned away.
When officers returned with a warrant, Madelyn Allen was quickly found in a coal room in the home’s basement, naked and caked in coal dust, according to reports.
“We got the phone call and [Snow College Police Chief Derek Walk] said, ‘I have her.’ We dropped to our knees,” said Jonathon, Madelyn’s dad. “We were so grateful, elated. We couldn’t describe the feelings that we had as we embraced each other.”
“We are so excited to have our Madelyn home,” Madelyn’s mother Taunya Allen said. “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.”
Allen Met Brown Online, Police Say
According to documents filed in Manti’s 6th District Court, investigators believe the 19-year-old first made contact with her alleged abductor online in a “chat room.” She agreed to meet with Brown on Monday night, but the encounter quickly turned coercive and non-consensual, court filings claim.
The affidavit says that Brown “threatened her, saying if she left or told anyone about him, he would come after her family and sister.” Police said in the week that Brown kept Allen captive, he would tie her up while he was at work and assault her repeatedly while he was home.
Authorities said that the 39-year-old took Allen’s phone and wallet away once he discovered police were looking for her, but he reportedly allowed her to text family members at one point on Tuesday morning. The cell data logged from that text ultimately led investigators to Brown’s basement and may have saved the 19-year-old’s life.
The alleged victim was examined at a nearby hospital before being turned over to her parents.
“The ordeal that she has been through is dangerous and traumatic, the experience and details and effects of which we’ve only begun to understand,” said a family spokesperson in a statement. “She is a fighter. She is now a survivor.”
Brent Brown Facing Rape, Kidnapping Charges
The 39-year-old suspected of abducting Allen is facing felony charges after he was arrested at his Wayne County home on suspicion of of obstruction of justice, aggravated kidnapping, and rape.
Prosecutors have since filed the obstruction charge, and more charges are pending, according to local reports. Further details were not immediately available Monday.
“We don’t have a lot of information about him,” said Snow College Police Chief Derek Walk at a press conference on Sunday.
“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.”