Salt Lake City Police Arrest Man Suspected of Murdering El Segundo Girl

June 28, 2019 - 3:35 pm

A Utah college student last seen in a Salt Lake City park 11 days ago was abducted and killed and her remains burned in the yard of a man now facing aggravated murder and other charges, authorities said Friday.

Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown, who became emotional at times during a morning press conference, said Ayoola A. Ajayi was being charged with aggravated murder, kidnapping and desecration of a body in the death of 23-year-old Mackenzie Lueck.

He was arrested without incident earlier Friday morning by a SWAT team.

Police say Ajayi wrote a book featuring at least two characters who are burned and killed. The book can be found on Amazon

Sections of the book appear to mimic the alleged murder of Lueck.

"Ezekiel was almost 15 when he witnessed a gruesome murder. An angry mob burned his neighbor alive in the street and the man died at his feet. Sadly, it was not the last time he witnessed such horror."

Later in the same summary:

"a loved one was killed in the same brutal, terrifying way 50 feet from him, and he could do nothing to stop it."

A biography of the author on Amazon reads: "Ayoola Ajayi was born and raised in Africa. He has been a salesman, an entrepreneur, and a writer. He has survived a tyrannical dictatorship, escaped a real life crime, traveled internationally, excelled professionally in several industries, and is currently curating a multi-platform advertising campaign for his debut novel, Forge Identity." 

There have been requests for Amazon to the remove the book from sale. 

Authorities said Ajayi was previously identified as a suspect in a previous sexual assault case in Utah. In  2014 Ajayi was part of a sexual assault/rape complaint, filed with the North Park Police Department stated in a Facebook post.

The victim chose not to press charges at the time of the incident. 

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,"

Police say Ajayi, 31, met Lueck at the park after taking a Lyft from the airport. It was not immediately clear how or whether the two had known each other previously but police said they had communicated electronically the day before she disappeared. They did not elaborate on details of that communication.

The police chief said investigators were seeking to determine if others were involved.

Brown says burned evidence, including Lueck's remains and personal belongings, was found at his home when it was searched on Wednesday and Thursday. Ajayi had previously been identified as a person of interest in Lueck's disappearance.

It wasn't immediately clear if Ajayi had an attorney. He had not returned previous messages from The Associated Press prior to his arrest.

Lueck was a part-time student at the University of Utah in her senior year majoring in kinesiology and pre-nursing. She has been a student since 2014 and has an off-campus apartment.

She is from El Segundo in the Los Angeles area and flew to California for a funeral before returning to Salt Lake City, police said.

Her family reported her missing on June 20 and became more concerned after she missed a planned flight back to Los Angeles last weekend.

Her family and friends made a Facebook page named Find MacKenzie Lueck. One post said: "Message for MacKenzie with permission from her family. Please pray for her safe return. Police Tips: 1-801-799-4420."

The Daily Mail reports Mackenzie Lueck dated multiple people through online dating sites and apps  and even bragged about being a "sugar baby," who went out with older men called "sugar daddies." 

Reporter Kayla Brantley with The Daily Mail tells KNX In Depth, Lueck had multiple social media accounts, one where she posted "sultry" photos of herself and used the hashtag #naked and #daddykink. 

Salt Lake City, Utah, Police Department

Salt Lake City, Utah, Police Department

Salt Lake City, Utah, Police Department