SALT LAKE CITY (CBSLA) – The body of missing 23-year-old El Segundo woman Mackenzie Lueck was found north of Salt Lake City Wednesday.
In a news conference Friday, Salt Lake City police announced that Lueck’s remains were recovered from Logan Canyon, an area located about 80 miles north of Salt Lake City.READ MORE: Chris Taylor hits 3 HRs, Dodgers beat Braves 11-2 to extend NLCS
“In the wake of this tragic, tragic incident, I am relieved and restricken to report that we have recovered Mackenzie Lueck from Logan Canyon,” Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown told reporters.
Thirty-one-year-old Ayoola Ajayi was arrested last week on murder and kidnapping charges in her death.
Last week, Lueck’s remains were also found in the backyard of a suburban Salt Lake City home owned by Ajayi, police said.
Lueck had not been seen since the early morning hours of June 17, when she returned to Salt Lake City after attending her grandmother’s funeral in the Los Angeles area.
A senior studying kinesiology at the University of Utah, Lueck texted her mother at around 2 a.m. Mountain Standard Time to say her flight had arrived safely. It was her last communication with family or friends. She then took a Lyft ride from the Salt Lake City International Airport to Hatch Park in North Salt Lake.
She arrived at Hatch Park, where the Lyft driver — who police say was ruled out as a suspect — told detectives that another person with a car was there waiting for her. Brown confirmed last week that investigators determined it was Ajayi who she met. Friends had told investigators they were unsure why she went to that park because she does not live in that area.READ MORE: USC Places Sigma Nu Fraternity On Interim Suspension After Reports Of 'Possible Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assaults'
In an interview with police, Ajayi admitted to texting with her on the night before her disappearance.
“He admitted to having text conversations to Mackenzie on June 16 at approximately 6 p.m., but nothing after that time,” Brown told reporters last week.
However, Ajayi denied having ever met her.
“He denied any personal contact with Mackenzie, or meeting with her at any time,” Brown said.
“Investigations of both the arrested persons and Mackenzie’s phone records show the location of their phones to be at Hatch Park within less than a minute of each other,” Brown said. “This was the same time as Mackenzie’s phone stopped receiving any data or location services on June 17 at approximately 3 a.m.”
CBS affiliate KUTV reports that Ajayi had previously lived at an apartment complex across the street from Hatch Park. He was evicted from that complex in 2016.
After being last seen by the Lyft driver, Lueck did not show up for any of her exams or classes. On June 20, three days after she disappeared, her family reported her missing. She had a return ticket back to Los Angeles International Airport scheduled for Sunday, June 23. However, she never showed up for that flight. She was also absent on social media.
On June 26 Salt Lake City police served a search warrant at Ajayi’s home, listed as an Airbnb rental located at 547 North 1000 W In the Fairpark neighborhood.
While serving that warrant, neighbors told police they had observed Ajayi burning something in his backyard using gasoline on June 17 and June 18. Investigators located the burn area and excavated it, where the found charred personal items belonging to Lueck, as well as her human remains.MORE NEWS: Long Beach Man Killed In Fatal Collision
Investigators also seized dozens of boxes of ammunition, a pitchfork and other items as evidence from his home.