Police Say Mackenzie Lueck Was Murdered, DNA Evidence Found at Suspect’s Residence

June 28, 2019 Updated: June 28, 2019

Salt Lake City Police said on June 28 that 31-year-old Ayoola Adisa Ajayi has been charged with aggravated murder and kidnapping in the case of missing Utah student Mackenzie Lueck.

Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said DNA testing shows that during a search of Ajayi’s residence, human tissue was found. Subsequent DNA testing showed it was a match for the missing woman, who disappeared June 17, according to a press conference.

“I will not be saying the killer’s name again,” Brown said, reported the Salt Lake Tribune, after announcing the suspect’s arrest.

Lueck, a 23-year-old University of Utah student, arrived back in Salt Lake City from California after attending her grandmother’s funeral. She texted her parents when her flight landed before getting a Lyft to Hatch Park, which is about eight miles from her home.

She met a person at around 3 a.m. and left in another car, Brown added.

Three days later, her parents reported her missing.

Phone records showed that Ajayi was the last person she communicated with before she went missing, said Brown, adding that Ajayi’s and Lueck’s phones were in Hatch Park within about one minute of one another.

It’s not clear how the two knew one another previously.

Brown said that the woman’s remains and some of her possessions were found burned in the backyard of Ajayi’s residence.

“Mackenzie was met at Hatch Park by an individual in a vehicle,” Salt Lake City Police Assistant Chief Tim Doubt said earlier in the week, according to CNN. “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.”

Lyft also issued a statement to media outlets.

“We recognize how scary this must be for those who know and love Ms. Lueck,” Lyft told CNN. “The safety of our community is fundamental to Lyft and we are actively assisting law enforcement with their investigation.”

Brown said he told the missing woman’s parents in Southern California about the arrest earlier Friday morning.

“This is one of the most difficult phone calls I’ve ever made,” Brown said. “We are devastated and heartbroken by this news.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.