Suspect faces multiple felony charges in Snow College student’s disappearance

File photo: UPI/Sakhorn

EPHRAIM, Utah, Dec. 19, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A probable cause statement filed in the case of a man accused of kidnapping a teenage Snow College student details the harrowing experience police believe she survived in the five days she was missing.

Madelyn Allen, 19, who had gone missing on Monday, Dec. 13, after leaving her student residence, was found Saturday in a house in Wayne County. The teen’s parents on Sunday praised her strength and survival skills, as well as dozens of Central Utah law enforcement officials who made her safe recovery possible.

Suspect Brent Brown, 39, found at the house where Allen was located, now faces multiple felony charges, including obstruction of justice and aggravated kidnapping.

A probable cause statement filed in Brown’s case by an officer of the Ephraim Police Department says the teenage girl’s parents became concerned after she texted a message on Tuesday morning, saying she loved them. The text came from Loa, in Wayne County, located 87 miles from Snow College in Ephraim, and the teen had no access to a vehicle.

The search

On Saturday and after more pings from a Loa location, police began a focused ground search and came upon a residence where they saw a light-haired woman peeking out a basement window, according to Brown’s probable cause statement.

Investigators say Brown answered the door, stated he was alone in the house, and declined a request to search the residence. Officers obtained a search warrant and entered the home, where they say they found a Snow College ID belonging to Madelyn Allen.

The rest of the residence was searched and the missing teen was found concealed in a basement coal storage area, the probable cause statement says.

A gun was located in an open suit case that contained clothes that appear to belong to Madelyn, according to the statement. Brown was also in possession of three knives.

Post Miranda, Brown allegedly told police he had met the victim in a chat room and arranged to pick her up from campus in his truck. He allegedly told investigators he had disposed of Madelyn’s phone and kept her restrained to prevent her from leaving.

Brown also told officers he had threatened Allen’s family and knew where their home was located.

Brown was arrested and is being held without bail.

Madelyn Allen was checked out at the hospital and is being provided with supportive care, officials said at a news conference held Sunday at Snow College.

News conference

The stated focus of the news conference was to express gratitude for Allen’s safe return and the work that went into achieving that outcome. At the time of the news conference, law enforcement had not yet filed Brown’s probable cause statement, and few details of the case were addressed. (Editor’s note: It was stated during the news conference that Brown is 29 years old; however, the probable cause statement gives his year of birth as 1982, making him 39.)

“It is striking how different our hearts have felt ever since our dear Maddie was found last evening,” said Jacob Allen, Madelyn’s uncle and acting family spokesman.

Source: ‘Maddie is Home’

“We are overjoyed and relieved that she is safe. While she is now safe, the ordeal that she has been through was dangerous and traumatic, the experience and details and effects of which we’ve only begun to understand. She is a fighter. She is now a survivor. We are grateful she is with us again so that we can help her heal and recover.

“Over the past few days, we have been amazed at the tireless world-class efforts that have gone into the investigation regarding Maddie’s disappearance. Led by Chief Walk, the team has local, state, and federal agencies, and has gone to extraordinary lengths to include us in the effort, listening to the family’s concerns and ideas throughout the process. There was much they understandably could not share. But they did share everything they could to help us understand their efforts.”

Jacob also thanked local authorities for their “empathy and concern” for the family, and “an ironclad commitment to find and rescue Maddie.” He praised the numerous agencies investigating the case for their service and ability to work closely together, and he thanked Snow College officials, including President Brad Cook, for going “out of their way to sustain, embrace, and host our family.”

Jonathan and Taunya Allen, Madelyn’s parents, said they feared the investigation would take much longer, so it was a great relief when Chief Walk told them Madelyn had been found.

“We got the phone call, he called us as he had done many times,” Jonathan Allen said. “And he said ‘I have her,’ and we dropped to our knees.”

He thanked the community for its support and faith, and the depth of its “goodness and hope,” saying the rescue “happened and for that reason, we are just so grateful and overjoyed.”

Taunya Allen thanked law enforcement officials and the community.

“We are so excited to have our Maddie home. We love her so much. She has been such a light and a joy in our lives. We’re so grateful that we can continue our lives together with her, and it took the effort of so many. We are so grateful, and we love you and we pray for our Maddie as she moves forward that she can find hope and happiness and joy in her future.”

Cook also shared his thanks, singling out the efforts of the FBI, the State Bureau of Investigations, the Sanpete County Sheriff’s Office and Major Crimes Task Force, and officers from the Nephi, Salinas and Mount Pleasant police departments.

“It’s amazing to think that there were over 100 different people yesterday that were coordinated and zeroed in on this objective, and it’s a real credit to our officers in blue. This is an example of why they’re so important to us. We honor them, and we thank our chief — you’ll never know, I’ll never know truly, of how much effort and sleeplessness,  focus, thought, that went into this.”

Cook said in a time of trouble and division, what transpired “reminds us miracles can happen.” He said it also reminds us to beware of dangers, on the internet and elsewhere, that face everyone. Young people with limited life experience can be especially vulnerable to predators, he said.

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