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Utah police find charred remains in search for Mackenzie Lueck

Chilling bodycam footage has shown the moment police searching for Utah student Mackenzie Lueck found charred clothing and remains near her killer’s yard. 

Lueck, 23, from California, was murdered in June 2019 by Ayoola Ajayi, who she had met online. They arranged to meet at a park before going back to his Salt Lake City house where he had turned off security cameras in anticipation of killing her.

New video clips released by cops last week now show the moment officers discovered evidence of her killing in Ajayi’s neighbor’s backyard. 

Pictures of Lueck’s burnt driving licence and her Coach purse, as well as clothing and her university ID found dumped by the Jordan River Trail, were also part of 1,700 images made public.  

Also featured in the images released by police are pictures of the fire pit at the bottom of his yard and around the killer’s home. 

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Mackenzie Lueck was strangled last year

 Ayoola A. Ajayi acknowledged he planned the death of 23-year-old Mackenzie Lueck, whom he met on a dating app and arranged to meet in a park in June 2019

Chilling bodycam footage has shown the moment police searching for Utah student Mackenzie Lueck found charred clothing and remains near her killer's yard

Chilling bodycam footage has shown the moment police searching for Utah student Mackenzie Lueck found charred clothing and remains near her killer’s yard

New video clips released by cops last week now show the moment officers discovered evidence of her killing in Ajayi's neighbor's backyard

New video clips released by cops last week now show the moment officers discovered evidence of her killing in Ajayi’s neighbor’s backyard

Ajayi, who was jailed for life without the possibility of parole earlier this year, had been seen burning items in his yard by an Airbnb guest and a neighbor. 

The neighbor described the smell of the blaze as ‘something I’ve never smelled before’, while his Airbnb guest said he ‘could not believe Ayoola had ignited the fire in his backyard’. The tech worker, 31, claimed he was burning pallets.  

He later told police he buried the rest of her body in a shallow grave in a canyon nearly 100 miles north, where she was found with her arms bound behind her. 

A picture of Lueck's burnt driving licence was also part of the 1,700 images made public

A picture of Lueck’s burnt driving licence was also part of the 1,700 images made public

A Coach purse thought to belong to University of Utah student MacKenzie Lueck

A Coach purse thought to belong to University of Utah student MacKenzie Lueck

Pictures of Lueck's clothing and her university ID found dumped by the Jordan River Trail were also part of 1,700 images made public

Pictures of Lueck’s clothing and her university ID found dumped by the Jordan River Trail were also part of 1,700 images made public

Pictures of Lueck's clothing and her university ID found dumped by the Jordan River Trail were also part of 1,700 images made public

Pictures of Lueck’s clothing and her university ID found dumped by the Jordan River Trail were also part of 1,700 images made public

Ajayi then burned her body and buried it in his backyard, Hamilton said. After detectives came to his door to question him, he dug her up and buried her in a shallow grave in a canyon nearly 100 miles north of Salt Lake City

 Police found a human bone, charred muscular tissue, part of a scalp with hair and personal items including a cell phone in the excavation area of Ajayi’s yard, charging documents state

Hours of newly released bodycam show police searching his home, questioning him on his driveway just yards from where the remains were found and detaining him in handcuffs.    

Lueck had met Ajayi, 32, on the site Seeking Arrangement, which bills itself as a way for wealthy ‘sugar daddies’ to meet women known as ‘sugar babies’, his lawyer said. 

Authorities have never discussed a motive for the killing but prosecutor Marc Mathis said: ‘This was murder for murder’s sake.’

Mackenzie’s father Gregory Lueck said he hopes Ajayi, who pleaded guilty to murder in October and admitted planning the killing, spends the rest of his life in prison looking over his shoulder in fear.  

When given a chance to speak, he apologized to Lueck’s parents in a short statement.

‘Mr and Mrs Lueck, I’m sorry for what I did,’ he said. ‘I deserve what I’m going to get. I know this won’t bring her back.’  

Hours of newly released bodycam show police searching his home, questioning him on his driveway just yards from where the remains were found and detaining him in handcuffs

Hours of newly released bodycam show police searching his home, questioning him on his driveway just yards from where the remains were found and detaining him in handcuffs

Charred items were also found in an alley next to Ajayi's home. 'Those items included what looked like black clothing and a possible strap from a purse or backpack

Charred items were also found in an alley next to Ajayi’s home. ‘Those items included what looked like black clothing and a possible strap from a purse or backpack

Also featured in the images released by cops are pictures of the fire pit in the killer's yard

Also featured in the images released by cops are pictures of the fire pit in the killer’s yard

Lueck was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority and a part-time senior at the University of Utah studying kinesiology and pre-nursing. She was expected to graduate in spring 2020.   

She went missing after returning from a trip home to El Segundo, California, for her grandmother’s funeral.

Lueck took a Lyft to meet her killer in a park. 

She exchanged text messages with Ajayi and met him at the park, apparently willingly, but her phone was turned off a minute after the final text and wasn’t turned back on, prosecutors have said. 

Lueck was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority and a part-time senior at the University of Utah studying kinesiology and pre-nursing. She was expected to graduate in spring 2020

Lueck was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority and a part-time senior at the University of Utah studying kinesiology and pre-nursing. She was expected to graduate in spring 2020

When they returned to his Salt Lake City home, Ajayi tied her up and began to choke her. She tried to stop him, after which he put a belt around her neck, pushed her onto her stomach and strangled her, the attorney said. 

Police say Lueck was last seen getting into Ajayi’s car on June 17. She was reported missing three days later.  

Ajayi then burned her body and buried it in his backyard, Hamilton said. 

The search for Lueck went on for nearly two weeks before some of her remains were discovered in Ajayi´s backyard and he was arrested. 

He later revealed the location of her body in Logan Canyon, where she was found with her arms bound behind her. 

Ajayi pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and desecration of a corpse in an agreement with prosecutors that removed the possibility of the death penalty.  Prosecutors dropped charges of aggravated kidnapping and obstructing justice.    

The 23-year-old student had just flown back to Utah after her grandmother's funeral in California. She is shown in surveillance footage taken in the airport, one of the last times she was seen alive

The 23-year-old student had just flown back to Utah after her grandmother's funeral in California. She is shown in surveillance footage taken in the airport, one of the last times she was seen alive

The 23-year-old student had just flown back to Utah after her grandmother’s funeral in California. She is shown in surveillance footage taken in the airport, one of the last times she was seen alive

Police found a human bone, charred muscular tissue, part of a scalp with hair and personal items including a cell phone in the excavation area of Ajayi’s yard, charging documents had stated.

Charred items were also found in an alley next to Ajayi’s home. ‘Those items included what looked like black clothing and a possible strap from a purse or backpack, police had said. 

Mackenzie Lueck was wearing a compact backpack, black in color, in surveillance video from the SLC Airport, the last location where she was seen on camera,’ a warrant states. 


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