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Man charged with murder, kidnapping in disappearance of missing Utah student

Salt Lake City Police found burned evidence—including Lucek’s belongings and remains— in charged man’s home.

Salt Lake City Police arrest Ayoola A. Ajayi for the murder of missing University of Utah student MacKenzie Lueck.

A Salt Lake City man is being charged with the aggravated murder, kidnapping and desecration of a body in the death of a Utah college student who was last seen 11 days ago, police said Friday.

Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said when police searched Ayoola A. Ajayi’s home with a warrant earlier this week, they found burned evidence including the belongings and remains of Mackenzie Lueck, 23, according to the Associated Press.

Lueck was last seen June 17 by a Lyft driver who picked her up from the Salt Lake City airport and dropped her off at a park, where she reportedly met with someone in a car. Police now believe that man was Ajayi, 31.

Ajayi was arrested without incident Friday morning.

Online court and property records show Ajayi, who was divorced this year, had no criminal record. His home, where police found evidence Wednesday and Thursday, was 5 miles from the park where Lueck was last seen.

Police say Lueck was killed in the early morning hours of June 17. It is not yet clear why Lueck was meeting Ajayi or if the two had any prior relationship, however police said they had communicated electronically the day before she disappeared.

Lueck was a senior at the University of Utah where she studied kinesiology and pre-nursing, according to a statement the university released Monday.

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,” he said. “We are devastated and heartbroken by this news.”