College student Lauren McCluskey was tragically found dead on the University of Utah campus after being shot, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend. Learn more about Lauren and this case, here.
Lauren McCluskey, 21, is confirmed to be the college student senselessly murdered on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 22. Lauren was a bright and talented young woman whose life was taken far too soon, allegedly by a man who used to be her boyfriend. As we all try to make sense of this tragedy, let’s learn more about Lauren, her life, and her case:
1. Lauren was found dead on the University of Utah campus, where she was a student. University police received a phone call around 8:20pm local time about a possible abduction in a parking lot outside a campus residence hall. When police arrived and searched the area, they discovered Lauren shot dead in a parked car. A police investigation is still underway. The prime suspect in the murder, Melvin Rowland, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the nearby Trinity Church.
2. Her family heard Lauren get kidnapped over the phone. Lauren’s family released a heartbreaking statement after her death, which revealed that they heard something troubling happen to Lauren over the phone. Her mother, Jill McCluskey, said that they were talking on the phone a little before 9:00pm, while Lauren was heading back to her apartment from a night class. “Suddenly, I heard her yell ‘no, no, no!’ I thought she might have been in a car accident. That was the last I heard from her. My husband called 911. 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.” You can read the full statement below.
3. Her suspected murderer is Melvin Rowland, her ex-boyfriend. Lauren and Melvin had only been dating for a month, according to the statement from Lauren’s family, until she broke up with him on October 9. Lauren ended the relationship after apparently discovering that Melvin lied to her about his age, name, and criminal history — he’s a registered sex offender.
The day after the breakup, October 10, Lauren requested assistance from University of Utah police to get back her car, which he was borrowing. After that, Lauren blocked his and his friends’ numbers, then filed a complaint with the University of Utah police that he was harassing her. It’s thought that Lauren and Melvin got into an argument earlier in the day of her death.
#BREAKING: I just received a statement from Lauren McCluskey's parents.
Her mother says the 21-year-old had dated Melvin Rowland for about a month.
She says he "lied to her about his name, his age and his criminal history."
— Brónagh Tumulty (@BronaghTumulty) October 23, 2018
Statement from the Pac-12 on the tragic loss of Utah's Lauren McCluskey: pic.twitter.com/Y060avf48m
— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) October 23, 2018
4. She was a stellar student and athlete. Lauren was a senior at the university, set to graduate in May 2019. She majored in communications, and was a star on the university’s track and field team. “As a campus community, we share grief over this tragic loss of life. Our deepest sympathy is extended to Lauren’s family and friends,” University of Utah President Ruth V. Watkins said in a statement.
5. Lauren’s murder comes a year after another killing at the University of Utah. ChenWei Guo was shot and killed by a man on October 30, 2017, on campus. His killer faces the death penalty for ChenWei’s murder.