By Greg Norman
Published July 10, 2019
The man accused of killing Mackenzie Lueck was formally charged Wednesday as prosecutors revealed during an emotional press conference that the University of Utah student was found dead with her arms bound 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 Ayoola Ajayi has been charged with aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, obstruction of justice and desecration of a human body. The remains of the 23-year-old student were dug up 80 miles north of Salt Lake City last Wednesday.
“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.”
Lueck was last seen alive on June 17 near a park in Salt Lake City, and investigators have said Ajayi was the last person Lueck was communicating with before she vanished.
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.
Ajayi, according to FOX13, is expected to appear before a judge at some point in the next few days.
"This case is far from over," Gill said.