Tech worker charged with murder in death of college student

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A tech worker was charged Wednesday with murder and kidnapping in the death of a Utah college student whose body was found in a wooded area with her arms bound behind her.

Prosecutors said Ayoola A. Ajayi, 31, was the last person Mackenzie Lueck communicated with before she disappeared on June 17.

She died of blunt force trauma to the head, and her body was found with her arms bound with zip ties and ropes, District Attorney Sim Gill said while announcing the charges.

This booking photo provided by the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office shows Ayoola A. Ajayi. Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said, Friday, June 28, 2019, that Ajayi was being charged with aggravated murder, kidnapping and desecration of a body in the death of 23-year-old Mackenzie Lueck. (Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

He declined to discuss a motive or the nature of the connection between Lueck and Ajayi. He also didn’t say what kind of weapon was used.

Gill became emotional as he described the Lueck family’s reaction to the charges. 

“They asked me to express on their behalf the generosity of so many strangers and friends,” he said. “They are genuinely appreciative and moved by the outpouring of love and compassion.”

  Lueck disappeared shortly after she returned from a trip to her California hometown for the funeral of her grandmother and took a Lyft from the airport to a park.

She exchanged text messages with Ajayi and met him there, apparently willingly, but her phone was turned off a minute after the last text “and never powered back on,” Gill said.

Police later found the charred phone in the backyard of Ajayi’s home in Salt Lake City, along with a bone, muscle tissue and part of Lueck’s scalp, Gill said.

She exchanged text messages with Ajayi and met him there, apparently willingly, but her phone was turned off a minute after the last text “and never powered back on,” Gill said.

Police later found the charred phone in the backyard of Ajayi’s home in Salt Lake City, along with a bone, muscle tissue and part of Lueck’s scalp, Gill said.

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