Mackenzie Lueck is now believed to be dead. Lueck was a 23-year-old nursing student from the University of Utah. The California native recently headed to her home state to visit family before catching a flight back to Utah. Her flight took place without issue, and she arrived back in Utah on June 17. She then called for a Lyft driver to pick her up and was dropped off in a nearby park, where she is believed to have met with a man sitting in a vehicle before going missing. Law enforcement now believes that individual was Ayoola Ajayi, according to CNN. A mattress that law enforcement have been on the hunt for has been located as well.
Ajayi is facing several serious charges, including but not limited to aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, obstruction of justice, and desecration of a body. He is also believed to have been in close proximity to Lueck at that park where she went missing.
On Wednesday, law enforcement seized an assortment of items from Ajayi’s property. Neighbors reported him to be using gasoline to burn something on his property on June 17 and June 18. It was later determined that he was allegedly burning some of Lueck’s personal items. Adding to his appearance of guilt, law enforcement identified Lueck’s DNA on his property.
Ajayi is 31-years-old and was taken into custody on Friday. Investigators found photos of Lueck on the suspect’s phone.
Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown told reporters that Lueck’s DNA was found within the burn area where Ajayi is believed to have been attempting to get rid of evidence.
NORTH SALT LAKE AREA:
Mackenzie Lueck is my aunt’s niece. She hasn’t been heard from since 6/17 after flying CA to UT @ 1am. She missed a midterm & a wedding this week.
Lyft reports she completed her ride to North Salt Lake @ 2am—she DOES NOT live in that area. pic.twitter.com/bUdhivPxEU
— Stephanie S. (@niapet2) June 23, 2019
“A forensic excavation of the burn area was conducted, which resulted in the finding of several charred items that were consistent with personal items of Mackenzie Lueck,” Chief Brown said.
It is important to note that police have not yet outright stated that Lueck is deceased, despite the fact that all evidence has been leaning in that direction. Chief Brown took on the heartbreaking task of letting the student’s parents know the tragic turn the case had taken.
“This is one of the most difficult phone calls I’ve ever made. Even though positivity has yet to come from this expectation of change, there are some that have stood by her since day one.”
Lueck’s uncle publicly read a statement from her family, in which they expressed their gratitude to everyone who had tried their best to bring her home.
“They’re also grateful to her community, her friends and others around the nation who have supported the investigation.”