Mackenzie Lueck case: Police say Utah student was murdered after they find burned evidence and her belongings at suspect's home

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 the 23 year old


                            Mackenzie Lueck case: Police say Utah student was murdered after they find burned evidence and her belongings at suspect's home

SALT LAKE CITY: 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, kidnapping 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.

Police investigators carry in multiple rakes and shovels into the backyard of a home at 547 N. 1000 West in Salt Lake City as part of the disappearance of University of Utah student MacKenzie Lueck on June 26. (Francisco Kjolseth/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

Earlier, Ajayi was taken into custody on Friday.

The news comes a day after police finished a nearly day-long search using shovels and dogs in their search of a home belonging to a man they called a "person of interest" in the case. Investigators have also been searching for a mattress given away from the home last week.

They also took a vehicle from the home. Online court and property records identify Ajayi as 31, divorced this year and with no criminal record in Utah. 

Lueck disappeared after taking a Lyft on June 17 from the airport to a park. Police said she met an unidentified person there at 3 a.m., and did not seem distressed.

Mackenzie Lueck disappeared after taking a Lyft June 17 from the airport to a park located miles from her apartment. (Social media)

Lueck's uncle has thanked the police for their work during an 11-day search that ended with news of her death.

The uncle, who did not want to be identified, 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 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.

Authorities have said the Lyft driver had no connection with her disappearance. The home that police searched Wednesday into Thursday is about 5 miles from the park.

Lueck was a part-time student at the University of Utah in her senior year majoring in kinesiology and pre-nursing. She had been a student since 2014 and had an off-campus apartment.

She was from El Segundo in the Los Angeles area and flew to California for a funeral before returning to Salt Lake City, police said. Her family reported her missing on June 20 and became more concerned after she missed a planned flight back to Los Angeles last weekend.

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