Utah man arrested in death of missing student

National

(AP) – Authorities are filing murder and kidnapping charges in the death of a Utah college student who disappeared 11 days ago.

Salt Lake City police chief Mike Brown said 31-year-old Ayoola A. Ajayi will be charged with aggravated murder, kidnaping and desecration of a body in the death of 23-year-old Mackenzie Lueck.

Police say Ajayi met Lueck at a park where she was last seen after taking a Lyft from the airport at 3 a.m.

Brown says burned evidence, including Lueck’s things and her remains, was found at his home. The home was searched on Wednesday and Thursday and Ajayi was the man previously identified as a person of interest.

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


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — One person was taken into custody Friday in the case of a Utah college student who disappeared 11 days ago, police said.

Officials did not immediately provide further details ahead of a planned news conference scheduled in the disappearance of 23-year-old Mackenzie Lueck.

The news comes a day after police finished a nearly day-long search using shovels and dogs in their search of a home belonging to a man they called a “person of interest” in the case. Investigators have also been searching for a mattress given away from the home last week.

They also took a vehicle from the home. Police have not specified his connection to the case.

Online court and property records identify the man as 31, divorced this year and with no criminal record in Utah. The Associated Press is not naming him because authorities have not done so.

Lueck disappeared after taking a Lyft June 17 from the airport to a park. Police said she met an unidentified person there at 3 a.m., and did not seem distressed.

Authorities have said the Lyft driver had no connection with her disappearance. The home that police searched Wednesday into Thursday is about 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the park.

Lueck is 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.

Investigators are tracking Lueck’s activity on social media, her dating life and whether she had another phone as they look for clues about who she met at the park and where she might be now.

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