How an unusual text and parent’s instinct led police to missing Madelyn Allen

She sent a text saying ‘I love you’ to one of her parents even before she was reported missing

Sravasti Dasgupta
Tuesday 21 December 2021 13:48
Parents Are Concerned About Their Child’s Safety on the Internet
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A Utah college student who had gone missing was found by authorities with the help of a text message that she sent to her parents, even before she was reported missing.

Madelyn Allen, 19, a student at Snow College, Ephraim, was reunited with her family on 18 December after going missing five days earlier, said Snow College Police chief Derek Walk.

Ms Allen was allegedly held captive by Brent Neil Brown, 39, at his home in Loa, reported KTSU.

He is facing felony counts of aggravated kidnapping, rape, object rape and obstruction of justice, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in court.

“We don’t have a lot of information about him,” said Mr Walk. “We don’t know how extensive his relationship or her knowledge of him is thus far.”

Court documents show that the duo met online and decided to meet on 13 December, reported The Salt Lake Tribune.

College security footage shows Ms Allen leaving her dorm room on Monday night. Her roommates reported her missing, when she did not return the next day.

Court documents state that Mr Brown tied her up when he went to work. He also allegedly took away her phone and allowed her to text her family only once on the morning of 14 December.

He also took away her wallet and threw her phone when he discovered that the police were searching for it, and he “threatened her, saying if she left or told anyone about him, he would come after her family and sister,” court documents added.

Police and law enforcement officials located Ms Allen through cell phone tower information, a search that was triggered by a text message that Ms Allen sent to her parents.

Ms Allen texted one of her parents, “I love you!” at about 7am on the morning of 14 December, reported ABC4.com.

Her parents then became concerned and went to the cell phone carrier to find out details of the location of the phone. The carrier said the text was sent from Loa, about 87 miles from Ephraim, where she was last seen.

On Saturday, when police officials called Ms Allen’s parents Jonathan and Tanya to inform them that their daughter had been found in the basement of Mr Brown’s home in Loa, the teenager’s parents were ecstatic.

“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 Tanya Allen, the teenager’s mother.

Later a candlelight vigil was held to mark the teenager’s safe return home.

Snow College President Bradley Cook cautioned students to be careful about online interactions.

“It reminds us of some dangers, especially our young people who are online,” he said. “You need to be careful. … We just have to be ever vigilant about those kinds of interactions,” he said.

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