Police in Utah say a man was taken into custody Saturday night after a student who had been missing since Monday was found in his basement coal room, naked and covered in coal. Candlelight vigils planned for Sunday at Snow College became "gatherings of gratitude" after police confirmed that 19-year-old Madelyn Allen had been found alive, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. According to court papers, Allen met the suspect in a chat room online and arranged to have him pick her up Monday. Her college roommates reported her missing when she didn't come back the next day.
Police say that while the relationship between Allen and the suspect, identified by KSL as 39-year-old Brent Brown is unclear, the teen ended up being held against her will. Brown tied Allen up while he was at work and "threatened her, saying if she left or told anyone about him, he would come after her family and sister," according to court documents. Before he threw her phone away, he allowed her to send a text message to her family. Police used the message to track Allen's phone to Loa, a town of around 500 people located 87 miles south of Snow College in Ephraim, the Gephardt Daily reports.
According to documents, police saw a light-haired woman looking out from a basement window at Brown's residence—but when he answered the door, he said he was home alone and refused to allow officers in. Police say they found Allen hidden in the coal room after they returned with a search warrant. Brown is being held without bail on suspicion of obstruction of justice, aggravated kidnapping, rape, and object rape, per the Tribune. Allen’s father, Jonathan Allen, said the family "dropped to our knees" when police told them they had found Madelyn. "We were so grateful, elated," he says. "We couldn’t describe the feelings that we had as we embraced each other." (Read more Utah stories.)