Lifestyle & Human Interest

Person of Interest Named in Missing Utah Student Mackenzie Lueck Case


Update: A man was charged in the homicide of Mackenzie Lueck on June 28, 2019. To read more about the update, click here.

The search for 23-year-old University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck still continues 10 days after her disappearance.

According to a statement released by the University of Utah on Jun 24th, Lueck was enrolled part-time as a senior and was studying kinesiology with a minor in nursing.

Mackenzie was last seen after leaving Salt Lake City International Airport around 2 a.m. on June 17, 2019. She texted her mother to let her know that she had arrived safely before requesting a Lyft ride to come pick her up.

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Approximately 40 minutes later, a Lyft driver arrived and successfully dropped her off at her desired location: Hatch Park — 10 miles north of the airport.

The Lyft driver told investigators that Mackenzie placed her bags in an unidentified person’s car and left. The driver also said she “did not seem to be in any type of distress.”

Police have said both the Lyft driver and the ride-share company are being cooperative with the investigation.

Mackenzie was officially reported missing on June 20th.

On Wednesday, June 27, 2019, investigators searched a home that is owned by a person of interest.

Helicopter footage from KSL showed Salt Lake City Police Department digging holes in the backyard after reports from neighbors claim that the homeowner was burning something.

Assistant Police Chief Tim Doubt shared in a media briefing that “multiple items” had been removed from the property and are currently being analyzed.

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He also shared that they are now looking for a mattress and box spring that were given away from that address last week.

Another large part of the investigation includes digital forensics that may help them learn where Mackenzie is.

Investigators are using information from social media, text messaging apps and dating apps to help pinpoint exactly what happened to Mackenzie.

Ashley Fine, one of Mackenzie’s sorority sisters, told KSL that she and her friends have been calling Mackenzie’s phone “nonstop.”

“We’re millennials,” she said. “(Not answering the phone) is very, very unusual. Even if you’re missing, or you want to disappear, you have to turn your phone on to GPS.”

Mackenzie Lueck, 23, was last seen on June 17, 2019 after leaving Salt Lake City International Airport. (NamUs)

Kennedy Stoner, Mackenzie’s “little sister” in her sorority, echoed Fine’s concern. “She hasn’t been to work, home, and missed a school midterm yesterday,” Stoner wrote on Facebook. “Her car is still home and hasn’t been touched.”

Fine, Stoner and other friends of Mackenzie have rallied to pass out flyers and encourage others to help spread the word.

“Our primary goal is to find Mackenzie and bring her home,” the Lueck family said in a statement. “Her family is grateful for the concern, prayers and the tireless efforts of the Salt Lake City Police and members of the community.”

If you have any information regarding Mackenzie Lueck and her whereabouts, please contact authorities by calling 1-801-799-4420 and referencing case number 19-111129. 

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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