This is heartbreaking. Lauren McCluskey’s mother, Jill, was on the line with her daughter right before she was shot by her ex-boyfriend, Melvin Rowland. This is what her mom heard last.
Lauren McCluskey was on the phone with her mother, Jill, on the same night she died by gunshot at the age of 21 on Oct. 22. They chatted as Lauren, a track athlete at the University of Utah, headed back from a night class to her university apartment, according to the statement Jill tweeted on Oct. 23. Their conversation was cut short by three painful words. “Suddenly, I heard her yell, ‘No, no, no!’ I thought she might have been in a car accident,” Lauren’s mom, an economics professor at Washington State University, revealed. “That was the last I heard from her.” But the phone call continued.
“I kept the line open and in a few minutes, a young woman picked up the phone and said all of Lauren’s things were on the ground,” Jill went on. After Jill’s husband, Matt, called the police, authorities arrived on the scene to find Lauren, shot, in the backseat of a car near the university’s south tower of Medical Plaza. She had already passed away. The prime suspect was her ex-boyfriend of one month, Melvin S. Rowland, although the police claimed it was he who “shot and killed” Lauren, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. After a police chase, he shot himself and died at Trinity African Methodist Episcopal Church in Salt Lake City on the same night.
As we’ve told you earlier today, the student, who was a senior communication major set to graduate in May of 2019, had broken up with her alleged murderer on Oct. 9. Melvin, who was a 37-year-old convicted sex offender, lied to Lauren about his age, name and criminal history, her mother wrote. After the breakup, Lauren asked for help from the University of Utah police to retrieve her car from Melvin, who was borrowing it. She then filed harassment reports to the campus police on Oct. 12 and 13. University Police Chief Dale Brophy said the case was passed on to a detective working with Lauren, according to ABC News.
Words cannot express our sadness. pic.twitter.com/ZZN85xDio3
— Jill McCluskey (@jjmccluskey) October 23, 2018
Lauren’s alleged murderer shouldn’t have even had a gun, as he was a felon. He was convicted in 2004 of “attempted forcible sex abuse and enticing a minor over the internet,” according to his court records that ABC News read. After discovering Melvin’s criminal background, Lauren ended the relationship, her mother shared. Utah track and field coach Kyle Kepler released the following statement regarding his athlete’s death: “Everyone associated with our program is devastated by the loss of Lauren. There are no words to express the emotions and grief we are experiencing right now. Lauren was a wonderful person, an excellent student and a dedicated member of our track and field team. She showed a relentless drive to improve every day over the last three and a half years and was always kind and supportive of her teammates. Those are just some of the reasons why her loss has hit us so hard.”