‘I love you!’: How this text message led authorities to missing student

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EPHRAIM, Utah (KTVX) — A text message could be the reason a missing student is now home safe in Utah.

Nineteen-year-old Madelyn Allen was officially reported missing Wednesday and was found Saturday.

The court documents in her disappearance case reveal a lot, including the tip that led law enforcement to find her.  

Around 7:20 a.m. Tuesday, before she was officially reported missing, a text message was sent from her phone to one of her parents saying, “I Love You!”

It was that random early morning text that ignited the search for their missing daughter. The text caused her parents to be concerned and they went to their cell phone carrier to find out details on the location of the phone.

The carrier notified the parents that the text was sent from Loa, Utah, which is 87 miles from Ephraim where she attends college and was last seen.

Police obtained data that indicated that her phone was in Loa at 12:06 a.m. and 7:20 a.m. on Dec. 14. There was no further data after 7:20 a.m.

Law enforcement said they found Madelyn Allen in Loa Saturday night.

Police arrested 39-year-old Brent Brown, who is facing a kidnapping charge and obstruction of justice among other felony charges.

“While she is now safe, the ordeal she has been through is dangerous and traumatic,” said Madelyn’s uncle Jacob Allen. “The experience and details and effects that we have only begun to understand. She is a fighter. She is now a survivor.”

The Allen family released this statement today asking for privacy:

“Words cannot express our gratitude for the outpouring of love we have received. 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.”

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