Police arrest suspect in killing of Utah college student Mackenzie Lueck | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World

Police arrest suspect in killing of Utah college student Mackenzie Lueck

Associated Press
1351583_web1_1351583-3aab4e4df7cb4012a83324f05128bd2d
Kristin Murphy/The Deseret News via AP
Salt Lake City police take a man into custody in connection with missing University of Utah student MacKenzie Lueck in Salt Lake City on Friday, June 28, 2019. Salt Lake City police said the man was brought in Friday morning, but did not immediately provide further details. Lueck disappeared after taking a Lyft June 17 from the airport to a park. (Kristin Murphy/The Deseret News via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
1351583_web1_1351583-e4a121e0fe6e4a77afd0d849ab97da1a
#FindMackenzieLueck via AP
This undated photo taken from the Facebook page #FindMackenzieLueck shows a Mackenzie Lueck, 23, a senior at the University of Utah. One person was taken into custody Friday, June 28, in connection with the disappearance of Lueck, who disappeared 11 days ago. (#FindMackenzieLueck via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah college student last seen in a Salt Lake City park 11 days ago was abducted and killed and her remains burned in the yard of a man now facing aggravated murder and other charges, authorities said Friday.

Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown, who became emotional at times during a morning news conference, said Ayoola A. Ajayi was being charged with aggravated murder, kidnapping and desecration of a body in the death of Mackenzie Lueck, 23.

He was arrested without incident earlier Friday morning by a SWAT team.

Brown said he told the missing woman’s parents in Southern California about the arrest. “This is one of the most difficult phone calls I’ve ever made,” he said. “We are devastated and heartbroken by this news.”

Police say Ajayi, 31, met Lueck at the park after taking a Lyft from the airport. It was not immediately clear how or whether the two had known each other previously but police said they had communicated electronically the day before she disappeared. They did not elaborate on details of that communication.

The police chief said investigators were seeking to determine if others were involved.

Brown says burned evidence, including Lueck’s remains and personal belongings, was found at his home when it was searched on Wednesday and Thursday. Ajayi had previously been identified as a person of interest in Lueck’s disappearance.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Ajayi had an attorney. He had not returned previous messages from The Associated Press prior to his arrest.

Lueck was a part-time student at the University of Utah in her senior year majoring in kinesiology and pre-nursing. She has been a student since 2014 and has an off-campus apartment.

She is from El Segundo in the Los Angeles area and flew to California for a funeral before returning to Salt Lake City, police said.

Her family reported her missing on June 20 and became more concerned after she missed a planned flight back to Los Angeles last weekend.

Categories: News | World
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.