Body of Utah Woman Mackenzie Lueck Found, Police Say

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
July 5, 2019US News
Body of Utah Woman Mackenzie Lueck Found, Police Say
Kennedy Stoner shows herself, from left, posing with Mackenzie Lueck and Grace Peterson. (Courtesy of Kennedy Stoner via AP)

The body of missing Utah college student Mackenzie Lueck was found, authorities said on Friday, July 5.

Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said that Lueck’s body was found in Logan Canyon on Wednesday.

“In the wake of this tragic, tragic incident I am relieved and grief-stricken to report that we have recovered Mackenzie Lueck in Logan Canyon,” Brown told reporters, according to KSL.

It took a while to confirm the identity of the body, officials said. They then had to inform the victim’s family.

“I spoke with Mackenzie’s family this morning—another devastating call. Despite their grief, we hope this will help them find some closure and justice for Mackenzie,” he added.

NTD Photo
Salt Lake City police take Ayoola A. Ajayi into custody in connection with missing University of Utah student MacKenzie Lueck in Salt Lake City on June 28, 2019. (Kristin Murphy/The Deseret News via AP)

“Please note this continues to be an open investigation. It is not uncommon for investigative efforts to continue, as the case progresses, to meet our obligation to the discovery of proof and the ongoing responsibility to collect all available evidence,” Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said in a news conference Friday morning, reported Fox 13.

Gill said that Ayoola Ajayi, a Nigerian national who was arrested in connection with Lueck’s murder, is presumed innocent.

Authorities said formal charges against Ajayi are expected to be filed next week. He was expected to be charged with aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, desecration of a human body, and obstruction of justice.

He may face the death penalty if convicted.

Police officials previously said that Lueck flew into Salt Lake City on June 17 and took a Lyft that dropped her off at Hatch Park at about 3 a.m.

Brown said that data collected from the cellphones of Lueck and Ajayi placed them at the park at the same time.

Mackenzie Lueck, 23, a senior at the University of Utah. (#FindMackenzieLueck via AP)

Suspect Allegedly Abused Wife, Tried to Build Soundproof Room

Ajayi’s estranged wife said that he violently abused her.

The marriage to Tenisha Jenkins Ajayi provided the alleged murderer the opportunity to shift his immigration status but proved harrowing for Jenkins Ajayi, who said she was finally forced into hiding due to the extent of the violence.

“He was telling me not to talk to anybody. He used to check up on me. He started to get more and more aggressive. Eventually, he said he would kill me if I didn’t go to Utah,” she told the Daily Mail. “He tried to tie me up with a phone cord. When I went [to] run, he blocked the door. I ended up jumping through a window and cutting my arm on the glass.”

Ajayi soon followed with a butcher’s knife, his estranged wife added, displaying a scar of where she was cut on her arm.

“He chased me into the street with a knife and cut me in the hand. I didn’t go to the police but I moved out of my apartment so he couldn’t find me,” she added.

“I was really frightened. He kept saying he was going to kill me.”

NTD Photo
Police investigators remove multiple bags of evidence during their search of a home in Salt Lake City as part of the disappearance of University of Utah student MacKenzie Lueck that carried on into the early morning hours of June 27, 2019. (Francisco Kjolseth/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

She said she eventually went into hiding and avoided her estranged husband.

Meanwhile, a Utah contractor said that he was inside Ajayi’s house and was asked to construct a soundproof room.

Brian Wolf, the contractor, said that he recognized Ayoola Ajayi’s house when he was watching the news.

Wolf said Ajayi contacted him in April after getting his contact information from a plumber. Wolf arrived at the house under the impression he’d be looking at fixing issues stemming from a flood but Ajayi instead asked him to erect a secret room.

“He said he wanted to sit in there and listen to his music as loud as he wanted to. I thought it was kind of weird to sit in a little room to listen to music real loud,” Wolf told KSL. “It wasn’t a big area. It was just weird.”

Ajayi informed the contractor he wanted the room to have a lock that could only be opened with his thumbprint and large hooks placed around six feet above the ground, anchored in concrete walls. He claimed the hooks were for a liquor cabinet that he wanted to hide from his “Mormon girlfriend.”

“That was another reason I was like, ‘That’s kind of weird that you need a soundproof room to listen to music and drink your alcohol in,’” Wolf said.

Wolf said he wouldn’t go through with the project and Ajayi eventually messaged him saying it wasn’t moving forward.

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