July 10, 2019 – Ajayi is formally charged as new details are revealed
Ayoola Ayjayi, the man accused of killing Mackenzie, was formally charged as prosecutors revealed that Mackenzie was found with her arms tied behind her back “by a zip tie and rope” and that she had a 2-inch hole in her skull.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said Ajayi has been charged with aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, obstruction of justice and desecration of a human body.
“Mackenzie’s arms were bound behind her back by a zip tie and rope,” Gill said. “A five-centimeter hole was located on the left side of her skull with part of her left scalp missing.”
Gill told reporters Wednesday that a medical examiner determined she “suffered blunt force trauma to the left side of her skull resulting in significant intracranial hemorrhaging which would have been fatal.”
A search of Ajayi’s home before his recent arrest uncovered a human bone, charred muscle tissue and part of a scalp with hair on it, Gill said.
Investigators reportedly later traced Ajayi’s cell phone to the area in Logan Canyon where her body was discovered.
“After a lengthy search, detectives located a disturbed area of soil under a grove of trees,” Gill said. “Under the soil, detectives located a charred human body.”
DNA testing of those remains, Gill said, found them to be consistent with the DNA profile of Lueck.
July 5, 2019 – MacKenzie’s remains discovered
Until today, there hasn’t been any significant updates, but it’s clear the investigation has been ongoing.
On Wednesday, they recovered MacKenzie’s body from Logan Canyon about 85 miles away from the home of suspect Ayoola Ajayi, where her charred belongings and partial remains were found in a fire pit last week.
My guess is he realized it’s nearly impossible to fully incinerate a body in your backyard, IN GENERAL. Plus, he was already drawing a ton of attention to himself.
So, he turned to plan B – drive nearly 2 hours away and dump her remains.
The canyon is near Utah State University, where the 31-year-old suspect Ajayi sporadically attended classes for several years without graduating.
“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.”
Police have not discussed a motive for the killing or how MacKenzie died. It isn’t clear how Ajayi and MacKenzie knew each other.
June 29, 2019 – Building a case against Ayoola “AJ” Ajayi
June 28, 2019 – MacKenzie’s remains discovered, arrest made
Ayoola “AJ” Ajayi, 31, is charged with aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, obstruction of justice and desecration of a body.
*The second person from this morning was only being retained for being on scene. He was uninvolved.*
It can be assumed AJ was the individual at the park she met. Both of their phones pinged 1 minute apart from that location.
Her phone was then disconnected from that moment on.
AJ denied knowing what MacKenzie looked like despite having seen her profile pictures and having them saved.
He admitted to detectives the two texted the day before she went missing until 6pm. Detectives didn’t say whether this was true or not, but I’m guessing this will turn out to be a lie.
Neighbors told police that AJ had been burning things with gasoline in his yard on June 17th and 18th. There was a fresh dig area in his yard that investigators dug up.
Police found burned belongings of MacKenzie and human female tissue that was tested and matched MacKenzie’s DNA profile.
They didn’t reveal much else. I’m sure we will learn more as they question him, but some things will be kept quiet for trial.
I think we can forget about the texts from the first Air BnB because according to the dates it seems like MacKenzie would have already been dead at that point.
Also a lot of people are bringing up AJ’s book. Yes, he “wrote a book” that’s self published on Amazon.
AND – there’s the soundproof room.
Because we needed another weird turn.
Fox News interviewed a local contractor named Brian Wolf who was commissioned by AJ to build a soundproof room at his home.
The request got weirder and weirder as AJ added in things like hooks and secret doors.
“He slowly added on other requests, like building a secret door and adding hooks to the wall,” Wolf told Fox News, explaining how AJ asked him to come to the home and give him an estimate for the potential project.
Eventually Wolf decided this project was too weird and told AJ he busy and wouldn’t be able to get it done.
I’d say he definitely made the right decision.
Salt Lake City Police took two men into custody this morning.
There will be a press conference at 11:30 their time (approx 1 hour from now).
Their names have not been released but one of the men seems to be “AJ,” the homeowner.
AJ was named a person of interest by SLPD yesterday.
The story so far:
I decided it was probably best to start a new recap. In only 24 hours, we received a lot of information, but are still left with a ton of questions.
This morning, people with a normal sleep schedule woke up to a huge a mess. There was a house being searched, a new Air BnB, someone named AJ, a mysterious mattress listed on Let Go, police not answering any questions, and maybe a fire at some point. If you weren’t there for it, it was easy to feel totally lost.
So let’s rewind a bit.
Something I didn’t include in my last post were text messages from a woman who cleans a few Air BnBs. To be clear, this is a different home than the location searched last night, but in the same area.
The text messages were from June 19th, 2 days after MacKenzie went missing, but she wasn’t reported missing until the next day. In the texts, the woman is speaking with the Air BnB owner about the current guests who should have checked out. They trashed the place, left the bedding covered in blood, and left out drug paraphernalia.
Once MacKenzie was reported missing the woman made the connection and informed police.
We don’t know if this actually was her or not, but it’s interesting enough especially with the latest information.
Last night, we got word there were heaps of police at a house in Salt Lake. The media was all over it, prompting a press conference.
The only thing the press conference confirmed was that they were serving a search warrant on the home and that it was related to MacKenzie.
The officer took questions, but didn’t answer any. He said they would be at the scene for several hours and hopefully they could provide more information in the morning.
The one thing I took away from that was it was definitely some sort of crime scene (I took forensics in college #humblebrag).
Throughout the night, photojournalists took pictures of the scene and things looked more and more grim for MacKenzie. Investigators could be seen digging holes in the back yard – never a good sign, in my opinion.
Part of me is holding out hope that she’s on some sort of drug bender on the run. Seems unlikely, but the better option at this point.
Another weird twist of the night, was that MacKenzie’s Instagram account started following someone. People suggested maybe it was an old request, but the “fatherless” account is public. When an account is public, you don’t need to request it you can follow it right away.
Since the police wouldn’t give any information on the search, the *gals* and I did some glorified googling.
AKA, we searched the address and found the Air BnB listings for the property and the owner who goes by “AJ.”
You can find a lot about AJ online, but nothing seemed overly interesting. He went to Utah State – which is NOT where Mackenzie went to school.
She went to University of Utah.
He wrote a fiction novel about crime.
His neighbors said he had been burning stuff in his yard for a few days.
Oh, and he gave away a mattress and box spring for free 4 days ago on Let Go
That brings us to the press conference today, right?
Salt Lake City Police Chief, Mike Brown, didn’t tells us too much, but it was still an update. I took notes while I listened so here are those:
- No arrests have been made.
- The home owner is a “person of interest” but is no longer in custody.
- They tested and analyzed many pieces of evidence from the home.
- Several people made SLPD aware of a mattress and box spring that were given away by the home owner. (Bingo!)
- They are asking whoever took that mattress and box spring to contact them.
- Brown didn’t/couldn’t say if the car they took from the home was the same car at Hatch Park.
- When Brown was asked about the medical examiner being on scene and pressed about remains, he said it was part of the investigation and the ME isn’t always there for a body.
- When Brown was asked about digging holes in the back yard he replied that that is where the investigation lead them.
- Made no comments on remains/ body etc.
- Brown didn’t know/ couldn’t say if the owner was who she met at the park.
- Brown said a big part of the investigation was based on MacKenzie’s digital foot print – IP addresses, social media accounts, texting, texting apps etc.
- He couldn’t comment on if her and the home owner were connected digitally
- He was asked if he was worried for MacKenzie’s wellbeing, he replied of course he is, anyone would be.
- Brown couldn’t reveal if they thought foul play was involved.
- He was asked about her instagram activity (she started following an account yesterday) and he said it is part of the investigation and something they are looking into.
- He is not confirming what lead them to the house besides detective work and digital forensics
- They are still considering it a “missing persons case” when someone asked if it was to be considered anything different at this point.
Okay, I’m going to take a break now… more of the original story and more about MacKenzie can be found on my FIRST post about the case. I’ll add more detail to this later.
2 thoughts on “MacKenzie Lueck: Homicide Investigation Updates”
This was really well written Stephanie. Very interesting.
Thanks! I have to add in a few recent updates still 😴