SALT LAKE CITY — Police have recovered the body of Mackenzie Lueck, a University of Utah student who vanished about three weeks ago, KSTU reports.
Lueck’s body was taken out of Logan Canyon on Wednesday, the Fourth of July.
Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said in a news conference that he was “relieved and grief-stricken” to report that Lueck’s body was recovered Wednesday in Logan Canyon, about 90 miles north of Salt Lake City. Investigators were subsequently able to forensically confirm it was Lueck, Brown said.
Ayoola Ajayi, 31, was arrested in her death on June 28. He also faces charges of aggravated kidnapping, obstruction of justice and desecration of a body, according to Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown.
Investigators tracking her cell phone discovered that 23-year-old Mackenzie Lueck and the man expected to be charged with her murder were both in the park where she was last seen on June 17 within a minute of one another.
That was around the time Lueck’s phone stopped receiving data or location services, police said.
After Lueck disappeared, the suspect originally denied knowing what she looked like, Brown said. But several pictures of her were found on his phone, and the “digital footprint” has continued even after the arrest, police said.
An Instagram account that Lueck’s sorority sister confirmed belongs to the missing student followed another user on or about Wednesday, CNN verified.
But the investigation is not just limited to digital footprints.
Investigators also found forensic evidence after they searched Ajayi’s home and property Wednesday, police said. As they did, his neighbors told police they saw him using gasoline to burn something in his backyard on June 17 and 18, Brown said.
Police said the search yielded multiple items of evidence.
“A forensic excavation of the burn area was conducted, which resulted in the finding of several charred items that were consistent with personal items of Mackenzie Lueck,” Brown told reporters.
Police also discovered charred material that was determined to be female human tissue consistent with Lueck’s DNA profile, he said. A mattress investigators have been trying to find has been located, police tweeted Friday night, without providing additional details.