Last known images of missing University of Utah student released as police identifies 'person of interest'
The Salt Lake police searched a house and identified the homeowner as a "person of interest" in the case of missing University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck, even as they released the last known images of the 23-year-old - offering few clues as she appears emotional in one of the pictures with her hand touching her necklace.
The pictures released by authorities were still shots taken from Salt Lake City International Airport videotape, where Lueck is seen wearing a black backpack and carrying a handbag as she exits the airport's departure area around 2 am on Monday, June 17. Reports state she had arrived at the airport after attending a family funeral in California, KSTU reported.
Another shot taken from the footage shows her rolling her luggage past the baggage carousel. Her still was captured moments before she took a Lyft to Hatch Park in North Salt Lake City, police said. The Lyft driver reportedly drove off and picked up other riders. Lueck, since then, has not been seen or heard from.
Salt Lake Assistant Police Chief Tim Doubt, while talking to reporters on Monday, said: "Mackenzie was met at Hatch Park by an individual in a vehicle. The Lyft driver left Mackenzie at the park with that person and stated that Mackenzie did not appear to be in any type of distress."
The officer added that the police has not yet identified the person she met that day.
The ride-sharing company also confirmed that her route did not show any irregularities and ended at the destination she had entered in her app. The firm also stated that the driver continued to provide rides to others immediately after her trip was ended.
"We are actively assisting law enforcement with their investigation," Lyft stated on Saturday.
According to police, Lueck had missed a flight to Los Angeles on the morning of June 23. While her sorority sister and friend, Ashley Fine, said that Lueck is "extremely dedicated. She would never miss her midterms or anything like that," the outlet reported.
Fine added that the 23-year-old lives with roommates near Trolley Square, however, she noted that Lueck had not been in touch with them. "I don't know why she would be going (to North Salt Lake) around 2 a.m. It's just very, very suspicious and dangerous," Fine said.
Police have also said that Lueck's phone has not been switched on or located since June 17. Doubt said that although no evidence of harm has been found "we want to make sure that she is all right" because of the circumstances of the case.
"Mackenzie, we are asking you to please reach out to either the Salt Lake City police department or a law enforcement agency where you are at. We want to make sure you are safe and we will respect your wishes," the officer added.
Meanwhile, officials searched the Salt Lake City house where a search warrant was served in connection with the investigation into the missing student.
Salt Lake Police Chief Mike Brown in a press conference on Thursday said investigators have also identified the homeowner as a "person of interest" but declined to identify him.
Police chief Brown said the man was not in custody but authorities have said that they believe that the house has a connection to the disappearance of Lueck, without providing details.