A strange early-morning text message last Tuesday from 19-year-old Madelyn Allen to her parents may have tipped her family off that something was wrong and allowed police to find her location, according to court documents obtained by KTVX.
“I Love You,” the text message, which was sent at 7:20 a.m., simply read, according to the local news outlet.
Allen was reported missing that day and her college said that she was last seen leaving her dorm the prior evening.
Police were able to ping Allen’s phone to Loa, Utah, about 90 miles south of where she was last seen in Ephraim.
Allen was eventually found naked and covered in coal in the basement of 39-year-old Brent Brown’s home on Saturday evening, according to an affidavit acquired by FOX 13 Salt Lake City.
She told police that Brown “raped her several times daily,” tied her up, threw away her phone, and threatened her family if she ran away, the local news outlet reported, citing the affidavit.
Brown is being held on suspicion of several charges. He had at least two warrants out for his arrest at the time of the alleged kidnapping in a witness tampering case and failure to appear on a traffic citation, FOX 13 Salt Lake City reports.
The Allen family said Monday that they are “eternally grateful for Maddie’s miraculous return.”
“We got the phone and [the chief of police] called as he had done many times and he said, ‘I have her,’ and we dropped to our knees,” Allen’s father, Jonathan, said Sunday.
“We were so grateful, elated, couldn’t describe the feelings that we had as we embraced each other and everybody that was with us and working so hard.”
Brown told investigators that he met Allen in an online “chat group,” according to FOX 13 Salt Lake City.
“It also reminds us though of some dangers, especially our young people that are online, that we need to, and that you need to be careful,” Snow College President Bradley Cook said Sunday.