SALT LAKE CITY — Police announced Friday that they have recovered the body of slain University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck.
“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,” said Salt Lake Police Chief Mike Brown.
The body was recovered Wednesday and investigators were later able to confirm that the remains were of Lueck.
“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.”
Last week, police would not say whether a body had been recovered. They would only say that “female human tissue” that matched Lueck’s DNA was found in the backyard of a Salt Lake home in the Fairpark neighborhood. Police said they found several charred items in that yard that “were consistent with personal items” of Lueck.
Lueck was last seen early on the morning of June 17 when she flew into Salt Lake City International Airport after attending a family funeral in her hometown of El Segundo, California. Surveillance video at the airport recorded Lueck making her way to baggage claim, and then getting into a Lyft vehicle.
Police say the Lyft driver dropped off Lueck at Hatch Park in North Salt Lake about 3 a.m. where another person in a car was waiting for her. That was when “all communication” from Lueck’s phone stopped, Brown said.
Ayoola Adisa Ajayi, 31, is accused of murdering Lueck. He was arrested June 28 in connection after police said he and Lueck had been texting before she went missing. Data collected from the cellphones of both Lueck and Ajayi puts them at Hatch Park at the same time early that morning, Brown said.
No formal criminal charges have been filed against Ajayi, but he is being held without bail in the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, desecration of a human body and obstruction of justice.
On Tuesday, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill got an extension to formally file charges and asked a judge to extend the time Ajayi is held in jail. By law, a person can only be held 72 hours in jail after being arrested before either criminal charges are filed, the person is released or a judge grants an extension.
More information will be posted throughout the day.