Police say missing college student was killed, man arrested

Salt Lake City police take a man into custody in connection with missing University of Utah student MacKenzie Lueck in Salt Lake City on Friday, June 28, 2019. Salt Lake City police said the man was brought in Friday morning, but did not immediately provide further details. Lueck disappeared after taking a Lyft June 17 from the airport to a park. (Kristin Murphy/The Deseret News via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A college student who went missing 11 days ago after last being seen in a Salt Lake City park at 3 in the morning was the victim of a kidnapping and homicide, authorities said Friday.

Salt Lake City police take a man into custody in connection with missing University of Utah student MacKenzie Lueck in Salt Lake City on Friday, June 28, 2019. Salt Lake City police said the man was brought in Friday morning, but did not immediately provide further details. Lueck disappeared after taking a Lyft June 17 from the airport to a park. (Kristin Murphy/The Deseret News via AP)

Salt Lake City police chief Mike Brown said Ayoola A. Ajayi will be charged with aggravated murder, kidnaping and desecration of a body in the death of 23-year-old Mackenzie Lueck. He was arrested earlier Friday morning by a SWAT team.

Brown said he told the missing woman’s parents in Southern California about the arrest earlier Friday morning.

“This is one of the most difficult phone calls I’ve ever made,” Brown said. “We are devastated and heartbroken by this news.”

Police say Ajayi, 31, met Lueck at the park after taking a Lyft from the airport at 3 a.m. It was not immediately clear how or whether the two had known each other previously.

Brown says burned evidence, including Lueck’s things and her remains, was found at his home. The home was searched on Wednesday and Thursday and Ajayi was the man previously identified as a person of interest.

Police investigators carry in multiple rakes and shovels into the backyard of a home at 547 N. 1000 West in Salt Lake City as part of the disappearance of University of Utah student MacKenzie Lueck on Wednesday, June 26, 2019. Police said Thursday that the owner of a home they searched in connection with the disappearance is a “person of interest” and that they are trying to find a mattress that had been inside his home. (Francisco Kjolseth/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

It wasn’t immediately clear if Ajayi had an attorney. He has not returned previous messages from The Associated Press.

Lueck was a part-time student at the University of Utah in her senior year majoring in kinesiology and pre-nursing. She has been a student since 2014 and has an off-campus apartment.

She is from El Segundo in the Los Angeles area and flew to California for a funeral before returning to Salt Lake City, police said. Her family reported her missing on June 20 and became more concerned after she missed a planned flight back to Los Angeles last weekend.

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2 Comments

  • Free Bird June 28, 2019 at 8:33 pm Reply

    Diversity at it’s finest! Our country is a dying decease, my thoughts and prayers go to this young lady. May justice be prevail.

  • Caged Bird July 1, 2019 at 9:48 am Reply

    Being a local resident of Logan, we recently had the tragedy of Lizzie last month. Her uncle was a red blooded white american, evils come in all shapes and colors so I don’t understand the previous comment very well. These monsters must pay for the innocent lives they’ve cut far too short, MacKenzie had her whole future ahead of her and I give her friends and family my sincerest regards.

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