MacKenzie Lueck – the University of Utah student who was last seen on June 17 – is dead, Salt Lake City Police say. Now, more details about her case and tragic end have been revealed.
On June 28 the Utah community was left devastated after news broke that MacKenzie Lueck, the 23-year-old student who had been missing for 11 days, had died. The 5ft 6, blonde was last seen at a North Salt Lake address after taking a Lyft from the Salt Lake City Airport. Despite an extensive search for MacKenzie, police revealed that she has died and that they had arrested a suspect in connection with the case. On June 28, the Salt Lake City Police Department (SLCPD) tweeted, “SLCPD took one person into custody this morning regarding the MacKenzie Lueck case.” Here’s what we know about MacKenzie, the case and the suspect, so far:
1. MacKenzie attended the University of Utah, but was originally from El Segundo, California. The student was a senior who was studying kinesiology, according to KCAL 9. Her family reported her missing on June 20, three days after she was last seen.
2. The Lyft driver who picked her up from the airport told police she didn’t “appear to be in any type of distress” when he dropped her off. MacKenzie used the service to take her from Salt Lake City Airport after she landed following a visit to her family in California. She was then taken to Hatch Park at 2:59 am local time, according to the SLCPD. “Detectives have spoken with the Lyft driver, and learned that MacKenzie was met at Hatch Park by an individual in a vehicle,” Salt Lake City Assistant Police Chief Tim Doubt said at a news conference on June 24. “The Lyft driver left MacKenzie at the park with that person, and stated that MacKenzie did not appear to be in any type of distress.”
3. Police were looking into dating apps during the investigation. They reportedly received tips that MacKenzie was interested in older men and casually seeing people. “In regards to her online activity, we are aware of this aspect and continue to look into all facets of her life for leads into her disappearance,” Assistant Police Chief Doubt said, according to the New York Post.
4. Ayoola Ajayi, 31, has been charged with aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, obstruction of justice and desecration of a body, according to ABC News. According to phone records Ajayi and MacKenzie were both at Hatch Park at the same time, Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said at a June 28 press conference.
SLCPD took one person into custody this morning regarding the MacKenzie Lueck case. We will be providing an update at 11:30 a.m at the Public Safety Building. #MacKenzieLueck
— SLC Police Dept. (@slcpd) June 28, 2019
5. Ajayi’s neighbors reportedly told detectives that they “observed him burning something in his backyard” with gasoline, said Police Chief Brown who also noted that cops found a “fresh dig area.” “A forensic excavation of the burned area was conducted, which resulted in the finding of several charred items consistent with personal items of MacKenzie Lueck,” he said.
The death of Mackenzie Lueck is devastating news. On behalf of the university, I express our heartfelt sympathy to the family, friends and classmates of Mackenzie during this very difficult time.
— Ruth V. Watkins (@RuthVWatkins) June 28, 2019
University of Utah President Ruth Watkins released a statement after news of the student’s death broke. “The death of MacKenzie Lueck is devastating news,” she tweeted. “On behalf of the university, I express our heartfelt sympathy to the family, friends and classmates of MacKenzie during this very difficult time.”