SALT LAKE CITY — The body of a slain college student has been recovered in a Utah canyon about 85 miles away from a backyard in Salt Lake City where other remains were found last week, Utah police said Friday.
The disclosure came at a news conference in the case involving 23-year-old Mackenzie Lueck.
Authorities previously said some of her charred remains and personal belongings were found in a suspect’s backyard in Salt Lake City. The body was discovered Wednesday in Logan Canyon about 85 miles north of the city.
“I spoke with Mackenzie’s family this morning. Another devastating call,” Salt Lake City police Chief Mike Brown said.
“Despite their grief, we hope this will help them find some closure and justice for Mackenzie,” he said.
Lueck disappeared June 17, after she returned from a trip to her hometown of El Segundo, California, for her grandmother’s funeral and took a Lyft from the airport to a park where she met someone.
Police say the last person she communicated with was 31-year-old Ayoola A. Ajayi, who was also in the park.
He’s being held on suspicion of aggravated murder, kidnapping and other crimes. No attorney has been listed for him.
Charges have not been filed.
Police have not discussed a motive for the killing or how Lueck died. It isn’t clear how Ajayi and Lueck knew each other.
Lueck was missing for nearly two weeks before he was arrested.
Lueck has been remembered as a bubbly, nurturing person was a member of a sorority and a part-time senior at the University of Utah studying kinesiology and pre-nursing.
Ajayi is an information technology worker who attended Utah State University on and off but never earned a degree and was briefly in the Army National Guard.
He has no formal criminal history, but has been previously investigated on a 2014 rape allegation and was arrested in a stolen-iPad case at Utah State in 2012. The arrest and the expiration of his student visa got him banned from the campus for about three years.
A native of Nigeria, Ajayi is now a U.S. citizen, police and jail records show.
His ex-wife has also told reporters she was afraid of him, and police have investigated a report that he asked a contractor to build a secretive and soundproof room in his home.