A man has been arrested in the case of missing Utah student Mackenzie Lueck.
A Utah man has been arrested and charged with the death of 23-year-old University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck who had been missing for 11 days.
According to Salt Lake City Police Chief Mick Brown, 31-year-old Ayoola Ajayi was charged with aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping and desecration of a body. Police got a tip about Ajayi possibly being connected to the disappearance, they served him with a search warrant and that’s when they discovered a gruesome scene.
Authorities say that they removed boxes of ammunition and many other items. While they were conducting their search as well as various tests, they discovered female human tissue and personal items that belonged to Lueck. Neighbors also said that they observed Ajayi;
“burning something in his backyard with the use of gas on June 17 and June 18.”
While searching his home, authorities say they also discovered what looked to be a “fresh dig area” which would have been used as a shallow grave.
Lueck was last seen on June 17th in a Salt Lake City airport where she was picked up by ride-sharing service Lyft. The Driver had dropped Lueck off at a park at around 3 a.m which was about 11 miles from the airport. The driver who was questioned by authorities shared that her ride and dropoff seemed normal, so he continued with the rest of his night.
Police said they’ve received more than 200 tips related to the case and the search warrant at the home was one of several they’ve served. They also towed a car from the property, saying there were items inside they wanted to examine.
“The death of Mackenzie Lueck is devastating news,” University of Utah President Ruth V. Watkins said in a statement. “On behalf of the university, I express our heartfelt sympathy to the family, friends, and classmates of Mackenzie during this very difficult time.”
Brown who had to make the phone call to Lueck’s family said the call was,
“one of the most difficult phone calls I’ve ever made.”
He continued to share that he could,
“feel the heartache and the pain and the suffering in his voice as we spoke.”
“And my commitment to Greg was we would do everything within our power, the Salt Lake City Police Department, to bring Mackenzie home,” Brown said. “And that is our charge and that we are committed to do.”