Police Make Arrest in Death of Missing Student

Suspect Ayoola Ajayi burned MacKenzie Lueck's body, police chief says
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2019 2:40 PM CDT
Police Arrest Man, 31, in Slaying of Missing Student
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.   (Kristin Murphy/The Deseret News via AP)

A University of Utah student who had been missing since June 17 is dead, Salt Lake City police said in announcing the arrest of a man they say killed her. Police said Ayoola Ajayi, 31, killed MacKenzie Lueck and burned her body. A SWAT team took Ajayi into custody Friday at an apartment complex on suspicion of aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, desecration of a body, and obstruction of justice, the Salt Lake City Tribune reports. Lueck, 23, vanished after returning to Salt Lake City after attending her grandmother's funeral in California. She took a ride-share from the airport to a park about 11 miles away and, police said, got into another car there, per CBS. That was the last time she was seen.

Social media and phone records show that Ajayi was the last person Lueck communicated with, police say. Records show that their phones were both in the park within less than a minute of each other, per CNN. Witnesses told police that they saw Ajayi, who has no criminal history in Utah, burning something using gas in his backyard on June 17 and 18. A search found evidence, including human tissue and personal items of Lueck's, the police chief said. A friend and former roommate of Ajayi's was stunned by the allegations, saying the suspect projected an image of an educated, cultured professional. Ajayi’s LinkedIn profile says he worked in information technology for Dell, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Comcast, and the Army. He also modeled for fine art photographs, the profile says. (Surveillance footage showed Lueck at the airport.)

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