UPDATE 6/28: Mackenzie Lueck was found dead and 31-year-old Ayoola A. Ajayi has been charged with her murder.
Missing University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck entered the car of an unknown individual after being dropped off by her Lyft driver at Hatch Park in North Salt Lake at approximately 3 a.m. on June 17, according to Salt Lake City Assistant Police Chief Tim Doubt. Lueck’s Lyft driver said the 23-year-old senior did not appear to be in any kind of distress when he left her, Doubt said at the Monday news conference.
The Lyft driver’s account was the last sighting of Lueck who has been missing for a week and whose case is being investigated by police. Lueck attended a family funeral in California and returned on a flight to Salt Lake City International Airport, which landed at around 1:35 a.m. Lueck’s parents, who reported her missing on June 20, said they last received a text from her at approximately 2 a.m. on the night of her return.
Lueck missed a scheduled flight to Los Angeles on Sunday and a midterm exam, according to Doubt. Detectives have interviewed Lueck’s friends and school acquaintances and have attempted to locate her through her phone, which has been turned off. They have also canvassed the area around Hatch Park in an attempt to find video surveillance from witnesses or residents.
Doubt said police have written and issued search warrants but he did not reveal the details of such warrants.
Detectives have opened a tip line (801-799-4420) for anyone who might have information about Lueck’s whereabouts. Doubt noted there is “no evidence of foul play” but the circumstances of the case require continued investigation.
He acknowledged that in some missing persons cases, the person is purposely avoiding contact with friends and family. Doubt asked, through the media, for Lueck to “please reach out” and that the police want to know she is safe but will “respect her wishes.”
Lueck’s disappearance comes nine months after University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey, 21, was shot dead by Melvin Rowland, 37, a man she had dated but had previously contacted the police about. University police received criticism for their handling of McCluskey’s case, namely for their inaction despite McCluskey’s reported warnings.
Doubt said he did not know if Lueck had previously complained to police about any issues related to harassment.