The body of Utah student MacKenzie Lueck has been found in Logan Canyon, police say

The body of Utah student MacKenzie Lueck has been found in Logan Canyon, police say

The body of MacKenzie Lueck, the University of Utah student who was killed sometime after she flew back to Salt Lake City on June 17, has been found.

“We have retrieved MacKenzie Lueck from Logan Canyon,” Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown announced at a news conference Friday.

Few details were given about how the body was found. Brown and Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said her remains were found sometime Wednesday.

“Despite their grief,” Brown said of the Lueck family, “we hope this will help them find some closure and justice for MacKenzie.”

Ayoola Ajayi, 31, was booked into jail on June 28, on suspicion of aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, desecration of a body and obstruction of justice after a SWAT team arrested him that morning at a West Temple apartment complex. He is being held without the opportunity to post bail.

Police had previously said charred human tissue was found in Ajayi’s yard and was a DNA match for Lueck.

As of Friday morning, Ajayi had not been charged. Gill asked for and received an extension until Tuesday to file formal charges, and said Friday that charges should be filed early next week.

Brown and Gill both issued pleas to give the Lueck family, living in California, privacy as they grieve.

“Whenever our community experiences a loss like this, the tragic circumstances have the potential to tear at the fabric of our community,” the chief said. “I am here to ask you, to implore you, to remain respectful.

“The tight-knit nature of this community is what helped us close this case so quickly. You have rallied together behind the Lueck family through this trial and I have felt that overwhelming support,” he added. “I hope that we take the time this weekend to talk to our loved ones and work together to prevent crimes like this from occurring.”

Lueck, a 23-year-old kinesiology major at the U., was last seen alive in the early morning of June 17, when she caught a Lyft ride from Salt Lake City International Airport to Hatch Park in North Salt Lake. The Lyft driver told police she met someone there.

On Wednesday, June 26, police served a search warrant on a house in Salt Lake City’s Fairpark neighborhood. The house belonged to Ajayi, who was the last person Lueck communicated with before she disappeared, according to phone records obtained by police. The records show Ajayi’s and Lueck’s phones were in Hatch Park within a minute of each other. The park is also the last place Lueck’s phone transmitted data, the chief said.

In the backyard of Ajayi’s house, police found a “fresh dig area” in the yard, Brown said. Police conducted a “forensic excavation” of that part of the yard and found several charred items matching the description of Lueck’s personal belongings, he said. Police also found charred human tissue, he said — and DNA testing showed a match for Lueck.

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