The Latest: Police say student, suspect communicated earlier

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on the investigation into a Utah college student’s disappearance (all times local):

12:35 p.m.

Police say a man charged in the death of a Utah college student connected with her for the first time the day before she disappeared, and investigators are still looking for anyone suspected of helping him.

Salt Lake City Police chief Mike Brown said Friday that 23-year-old Mackenzie Lueck first communicated with 31-year-old Ayoola A. Ajayi electronically on June 16, though he declined to say how they got in touch.

Lueck disappeared hours after that first communication. Police say she met someone at a park in the early morning hours of June 17, and left with that person willingly.

Police say Ajayi has denied communicating with her after June 16, but phone location data puts them both at the park where she was last seen within a minute of each other at 3 a.m. on June 17.


12:05 p.m.

The uncle of a missing Utah college student is thanking police for their work during an 11-day search that ended with news of her death.

The uncle of 23-year-old Mackenzie Lueck did not identify himself, but held back tears as he read a statement from her family to reporters at a news conference on Friday.

Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown says the phone call he made giving father Greg Lueck news of her death was one of the most difficult he has ever made.

Prosecutors say they are charging 31-year-old Ayoola A. Ajayi with murder and aggravated kidnapping in her death. They say she was killed shortly after meeting in a park in the early-morning hours of June 17. Investigators are still trying to determine if others were involved.


11:45 a.m.

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.


10:30 a.m.

Police say one person has been taken into custody in the case of a Utah college student who disappeared 11 days ago.

Salt Lake City police said the person was brought in Friday morning, but did not immediately provide further details ahead of a planned news conference.

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

Mackenzie Lueck disappeared after taking a Lyft June 17 from the airport to a park. Police said she met an unidentified person at 3 a.m.

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