Utah student resting with family after ‘miraculous’ rescue, parents say

Student Madelyn Allen, 19, met Brent Brown , 39, on the app Kik; her parents became concerned after odd text

Missing student found alive in 39-year-old man’s basement

The parents of Madelyn Allen, who was rescued this week after failing to return from a meeting with a man she met on an app, have expressed their gratitude for the public’s help in bringing their daughter home.

Taunya and Jonathan Allen released a statement to The Independent through a spokeswoman, who said the family was “resting and focusing on Maddie’s care and that of their other children.”

“Words cannot express our gratitude for the outpouring of love we have received,” the Allens stated. “We are eternally grateful for Maddie’s miraculous return, for everyone who played a role in bringing her home, and for those who are now helping her begin the recovery process. We also appreciate those in the media and elsewhere who have discussed this difficult experience with sensitivity.

“While we hope that our experience might foster greater awareness and understanding of mental health issues, our sole focus in the coming days, weeks and months is on Maddie’s needs and those of our other children. As a result, we will be very limited in our public communication, but want you to know of our immense love and appreciation for all those who have shown such care, sensitivity and understanding.”

Ms Allen, a student at Snow College, vanished last Monday after leaving her dorm in Ephraim in central Utah around 9.22pm. She was going to meet a man she’d been chatting too on Kik, an app popular with teenagers.

Her roommates reported her missing when she never came home, and her parents had become concerned too after receiving a strange early morning text that said: “I love you.”

She was found naked five days after she went missing in the basement coal room of a house in Loa, about 90 miles from Snow College. According to court documents, 39-year-old Brent Brown was arrested and told authorities the home belonged to his parents.

Ms Allen first met him in a fetish chat group – but when they met in person, the situation soon turned non-consensual, according to documents.

Mr Brown was charged on Tuesday with six felony counts, including obstruction of justice, aggravated kidnapping and three first-degree charges related to sexual assault, including rape.

A judge denied him bail despite pleas to be let out for Christmas to see his children. He is next due in court on 10 January.

At a press conference following her rescue, the student’s father said “we dropped to our knees” after hearing the news.

“We are so excited to have our Maddie home,” her mother said. “We love her so much. And she has been such a light and a joy in our lives. We are so grateful that we can continue our lives together with her. And it took the effort of so many and we’re so grateful. And we love you.

“We pray for our sweet Maddie as she moves forward that she can find hope and happiness and joy in her future.”

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