The Search for Missing College Student Mackenzie Lueck Has Ended in Tragedy

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UPDATE, July 5, 2019:

On July 5, 2019, Chief Mike Brown confirmed that the Salt Lake City Police Department retrieved Mackenzie Lueck’s body from Logan Canyon on Wednesday, July 3, 2019.

Attorney District Sim Gill stressed that even though an arrest has been made, no formal charges for Ayoola Ajayi have been made yet. “This continues to be an open investigation,” he said.

Reported on June 28, 2019:

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The search for 23-year-old Mackenzie Lueck has ended in tragedy.

Thirty-one-year-old Ayoola Ajayi will be charged with aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, obstruction of justice and desecration of a body, according to SLCPD Chief Mike Brown.

“I will not be saying the killer’s name again,” an emotional Brown said during a news conference.

Ajayi admitted to having text conversations with Lueck prior to June 17.

He was taken into custody Friday morning.

“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,” Salt Lake City Police tweeted Friday.

Mackenzie was last seen after leaving Salt Lake City International Airport around 2 a.m. on June 17.

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She texted her mother to let her know that she had arrived safely before requesting a Lyft ride to pick her up.

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.”

Mackenzie was officially reported missing on June 20.

On June 27, investigators searched the home owned by Ajayi.

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. Police discovered an area in the yard that seemed to have been dug recently.

Chief Brown confirmed that the female human remains and items found in the ashes tested from the home were those of Mackenzie Lueck.

Brown personally called Mackenzie’s parents to tell them the devastating news.

“This is one of the most difficult phone calls I have ever made as both Greg and his wife Diana are devastated, are broken by this news,” Brown said.

“The death of Mackenzie Lueck is devastating news,” said University of Utah President Ruth V. Watkins in a press release sent to Liftable, a section of The Western Journal. “On behalf of the university, I express our heartfelt sympathy to the family, friends and classmates of Mackenzie during this very difficult time.”

Mackenzie’s uncle read a statement on June 28, “We ask that everyone respect the privacy of Mackenzie’s family and friends at this time.”

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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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