A man has been arrested in connection to the disappearance and murder of 23-year-old University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck.
Ayoola Ajayi, 31, was charged with aggravated murder, kidnapping, obstruction of justice, and desecration of a body, according to The Washington Post. The Salt Lake City police were reportedly able to link Ajayi to the murder by tracking Lueck’s cell phone data around the time she was last seen, and by discovering DNA evidence in his backyard.
“Investigations were conducted on MacKenzie’s phone records, social media, and other communications, which showed that all communications ceased at 3 a.m. on June 17, 2019...Investigations of MacKenzie’s phone records show that her last communications were with the arrested person,” said Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown at a press conference.
Lueck disappeared the night of June 17 after taking a Lyft from the airport to Hatch Park in North Salt Lake, where her location phone data matched that of Ajayi. After discovering this connection, police then conducted a search of Ajayi’s home and found a fresh dig area, burnt items that belonged to Lueck, and burned human remains that matched her DNA profile.
No motive has been discussed in the case. Additionally, Ajayi declined to indicate how he and Lueck were associated prior to their contact the night of Lueck’s disappearance.
Lueck, who was studying kinesiology and pre-nursing, was expected to graduate from the University of Utah in 2020.
Lueck’s uncle, who was present at the police press conference but did not give his name, read a statement from her family, the Associated Press reports.
“They’re also grateful to her community, her friends and others around the nation who have supported this investigation,” he said.