A 19-year-old Utah college student who was missing for five days was found alive in a 39-year-old man's basement over the weekend, police said. She was reportedly naked and buried under a pile of coal.
What are the details?
Madelyn Allen, a student at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, was reported missing last Wednesday. According to KTVX-TV, she was last seen leaving her college dorm at around 9:22 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 13, looking as if she was going out with someone.
The news outlet reported that video footage showed Allen leaving her dorm wearing a skirt, a white coat, and flats. The next day, at around 7:20 a.m., a text message was sent from her phone to her parents saying, "I love you!"
The strange text followed by silence evidently caused her parents to worry. So they headed to a local Verizon store to track the location of the phone and discovered that the text was sent from a residence in Loa, Utah — nearly 90 miles from Ephraim.
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Police responded by executing a search at the home where Allen's phone was located. When they arrived at the home, police encountered 39-year-old Brent Neil Brown at the door.
Brown initially insisted that no one else was at the home and denied police entry. But after police called the homeowners — Brown's parents — and received permission to enter, they reportedly discovered items belonging to Allen, including her photo ID in plain sight and an open suitcase with her clothes in it.
What happened next?
Police then arrested Brown, who was allegedly found in possession of three knives, and continued to search the home for Allen. Officers eventually located the student, naked and hidden in a type of coal storage in the basement, "completely covered in coal."
As of Monday, Brown was being held without bail under suspicion of obstruction of justice, rape, aggravated kidnapping, and assault, KSL-TV reported. No charges had been formally filed.
According to the arrest affidavit, Allen said that Brown "raped her several times daily" even though "she did not want to have sex with Brown." But she added that she feared leaving because Brown knew her family's address and had "threatened her, saying if she left or told anyone about him he would come after her family and sister."
During the day while Brown was at work, he would tie Allen up, only allowing her to reach the kitchen and the bathroom, the affidavit said. He allegedly described the act of tying her up as a sort of consensual role-play. Brown also took Allen's phone after permitting her to text her parents one time and said that he had mailed it to the U.S. southern border.
The two reportedly met on an online chat group.
Allen's family say they are "overjoyed" that she was found alive and in stable condition.
“We got the phone call and [the police chief] said, ‘I have her.’ We dropped to our knees,” the student's father, Jonathan Allen, said, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. “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,” mother Taunya Allen added. “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.”
"She is a fighter. She is now a survivor," Allen's uncle and family spokesman said, according to KSL.
"Hundreds of thousands of people have expressed their love and concern, fueling the outrage that aided in this effort," he added. "We have depended on your love and examples, even as we know many of you face your own struggles."