On Monday, December 13, 2021,19-year-old college student Madelyn Allen disappeared. Madelyn hadn’t been seen since she left her dorm at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah that evening just before 9:30 pm.
Five days later, she was found alive in the basement of 39-year-old Brent Neil Brown’s house in Wayne County.
Madelyn says she met Brown in a group chat on KIK geared toward BDSM interests according to the probable cause affidavit filed with the court. She agreed to meet with him, and they decided that Brown would pick her up on December 13, 2021. According to police, he picked her up and drove her 87 miles away to his parents’ home.
Madelyn can be seen on security footage leaving her dorm that Monday night.
The following day, her roommates reported her missing after she still hadn’t returned, and her family was notified.
According to legal filings, the visit between Madelyn and her alleged attacker became violent and nonconsensual over the course of the days that followed. She claims that he took her phone and only allowed her to text her family one time on December 14. She sent her parents a message that just said, “I love you.” They got in touch with the phone carrier and discovered the phone had pinged at a location about 90 miles away and then contacted police with that information.
Court filings say that Madelyn claims Brown tied her up while he was at work, tossed out her cell phone when he discovered she had been reported missing, and took her wallet. She says he threatened her, saying that if she left or told anyone about him, he would go after her family. He is accused of raping her several times daily, according to The Sun.
Per KSL-TV, Brown admitted to tying Madelyn up, taking her phone, and threatening her family. However, he contends that it was just part of a sexual role-playing game per The Daily Mail. Detectives on the case say differently. Their affidavit says that Madelyn told police she had not wanted to have sex with Brown but was afraid to leave because of the threats against her family.
Madelyn said that Brown told her he had mailed her phone to the southern border of Arizona so that police had stopped looking for her. It was a lie. A law enforcement team made up of local, state, and federal branches were soon actively searching for her in a town called Loa. It didn’t take long to search the small town of only 500 or so residents.
Police said they spotted a person with light hair and a small build in a basement on Main Street that they felt might be Madelyn. Brown opened the door for police but told them no one was in the home other than him and wouldn’t allow them to search without permission from his parents, who were the legal owners of his home. Permission was requested and granted by the parents and a search of the home commenced.
ABC4 reported that officers discovered Madelyn’s college ID, a gun laying in an open suitcase, and women’s clothing that could belong to Madelyn. Brown was arrested and searched, revealing that he was carrying three knives on his person.
Affidavits filed with the court show that state police next searched the basement, where they discovered Madelyn in a basement coal storage room. She was naked and completely covered in coal. After being taken to the hospital for medical assistance, Madelyn was finally able to see her family.
A statement from Madelyn’s father, Jonathan Allen, was published in The Salt Lake Tribune:
“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.”
Also according to The Salt Lake Tribune, her mother, Taunya Allen, had this to say:
“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.”
In the wake of Madelyn’s ordeal, Snow College President Bradley Cook took the opportunity to remind students about the dangers young people face online. He reminded them that they must be careful and “vigilant about those kinds of interactions.”
A vigil was held on December 19, 2021, to celebrate the safe return of Madelyn.
The Heavy reports that Brown expressed conservative views that include right-wing propaganda on his Facebook page where he regularly expressed support for Donald J. Trump, gun rights, and law enforcement but railed against immigrants and covid mandates, among other things. Ironically, he also shared a post about human trafficking about a month before he allegedly kidnapped Madelyn.
According to The Sun, Brown is currently in jail awaiting trial on the charges of obstruction of justice, aggravated kidnapping, rape, and object rape. In his initial court appearance, Brown asked the judge to release him on bail so he could spend the holidays with his kids.
The judge cited multiple warrants, at least one of which is a felony warrant, in other counties and his posing a danger to the community as reasons for denying his bail request. His next court appearance will be on January 10, 2022.
Meanwhile, Madelyn was able to spend Christmas with her family and has already begun the healing process after her ordeal.