Judge denies suspect bail due to safety concerns for victim
RICHFIELD—Brent Neil Brown, the suspect in the alleged kidnapping and assault on 19-year-old Snow College student Madelyn Allen, made an initial court appearance by video conference last Wednesday, Dec. 22, before 6th District Court Judge Wallace Lee.
Brown, 39, appeared from the Sevier County Jail, where he has been held since his arrest in Loa, Wayne County, on Dec. 20.
An “information” (the term in Utah for a charging document) was filed Dec. 21 charging Brown with six criminal counts: rape, object rape, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault, all first-degree felonies; and aggravated assault and obstruction of justice, both second-degree felonies.
Also appearing at the hearing were Sanpete County Attorney Kevin Daniels and Wayne County Attorney Mike Olsen, who will be co-prosecutors in the case.
Michael Labrum, a Richfield attorney, was appointed to be a public defender for Brown. He asked Judge Lee to set reasonable bail, which could have made it possible for Brown to be released.
But Olsen, the Wayne County attorney, told the judge, “We don’t think there is any way the victim would be able to remain safe if he is permitted to bail—or the public in general.”
Daniels noted after Brown was arrested in Loa, officials discovered a “no bail” warrant for his arrest for alleged felony witness tampering in Box Elder County.
Judge Lee denied the public defender’s request, meaning Brown will continue to be held without bail. He set a preliminary hearing for Jan. 10.
Asked the day after the initial appearance how Madelyn Allen was doing, Daniels said, “The bottom line is she’s very fortunate to have the family she does. They’re just an amazing family. They love her to death. Their energies are focused on her right now.”
He added that he and Olsen “have assured the family we will do our absolute best to get justice in this case.”
He said Utah Sen. Derrin Owens, who represents Sanpete, Sevier and Wayne counties, has assured him that if the counties need additional funds to prosecute the case, “the state will do what is needed.”
Allen, 19, went missing from her Snow College dormitory on Monday, Dec. 13. Apparently, Allen met Brown through a phone app and initially left the Snow campus with him voluntarily. But over the next 24 hours, the encounter became non-consensual.
According to a probable-cause statement included with charges, while Brown permitted Allen to text her parents in Kaysville the day after she left campus (Tuesday, Dec. 14), when he heard police were looking for her, he took her phone. At the time of arrest, he admitted to throwing the phone in a trash can at a store.
However, based on the text message, authorities were able to identify her location as Loa, about 90 miles south of Ephraim.
On Saturday, Dec. 18, a large contingent of officers conducted a door-to-door search in Loa. The probable-cause statement says that at a house on Main Street, an officer observed a person with light-colored hair and a small build through the basement window. That fit Allen, who is 5-foot 1-inch and weighs 95 pounds.
It turned out the house where Brown lived was owned by his parents. The probable-cause statement says officers got permission from the parents to search the house, and shortly after entering, saw Allen’s Snow College I.D.
From there, the officers searched the basement, where, according to the probable-cause statement, they found the missing young woman in a coal storage area. She was unclothed and covered in coal.
The probable-cause statement says after being read his Miranda rights, Brown offered to talk to officers. He admitted tying Allen up during the day while he was at work, which he described as a bondage role play. He described having sex with her multiple times.
The probable-cause statement quotes Allen as telling officers Brown always had a large knife around his waist. He is 6-feet tall and 250 pounds, and she said she knew he could overpower her. According to the probable-cause, she told the officer that Brown forced her to remove her clothes and did not permit her to get dressed again during the five days she was at his house.
She told officers she did not want to have sex with Brown. She also said on one occasion he choked her and covered her face and mouth with his hands.
The probable-cause statement describes multiple instances where Brown threatened or frightened her. At one point, he told her the police were no longer looking for her. Another time, he told her that if she heard anyone in the house, she should hide, or she would face consequences.
Once she heard people on the main floor of the house, after which Brown came downstairs, told her to hide in the coal bin and covered her with coal.
After rescuing Allen on Saturday, Dec. 18, officers took her to a local hospital for evaluation and then returned her to her parents.