Update: Family of missing U of U student issues first statement

MacKenzie Lueck. Photo: Facebook
  • Murder charges filed. For an updated story, click here.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, June 25, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — The family of missing University of Utah student MacKenzie Lueck has issued its first statement since she went missing just over a week ago.

“Our primary goal is to find MacKenzie and bring her home,” the statement, released Monday, said. “Her family is grateful for the concern, prayers and the tireless efforts of the Salt Lake City Police and members of the community.”

At a press conference Monday, SLCPD assistant police chief Tim Doubt revealed Lueck was dropped off by a Lyft driver at Hatch Park in North Salt Lake at about 3 a.m. Monday, and was “met with by an individual in a vehicle.”

“The Lyft driver left MacKenzie at the park with that person and stated that MacKenzie did not appear to be in any type of distress,” Doubt said.

Lueck, 23, who goes by Kenzie, disappeared after attending a funeral in California then flying back to Salt Lake City in the early hours of Monday morning, June 17. Her parents reported her missing Thursday, June 20 at approximately 4 p.m. Lueck is a senior at the U of U and lives in Salt Lake City.

At the press conference Monday afternoon, SLCPD assistant police chief Tim Doubt offered this timeline on Lueck’s movements after she arrived back in Salt Lake City.

  • 1:35 a.m.: Lueck’s plane arrives at Salt Lake City International Airport
  • 2:01 a.m.: Lueck texts her mother to say she’s arrived in Salt Lake City
  • 2:42 a.m.: She takes a Lyft from the airport to Hatch Park, which is located at 50 W. Center St. in North Salt Lake
  • 2:59 a.m. She arrives at Hatch Park

“Detectives have spoken with the Lyft driver and learned that MacKenzie was met at Hatch Park by an individual in a vehicle,” Doubt added. “The Lyft driver left MacKenzie at the park with that person and stated that MacKenzie did not appear to be in any type of distress.”

Doubt said the make and model of the car that she was dropped at has not yet been confirmed, and at this time there is no description available of the driver. Doubt said further details may be released once “we have verified that information.”

Doubt added that since then, family and friends have not heard from Lueck and she missed a midterm exam and a flight back to California. She was scheduled to fly into Los Angeles International Airport Sunday morning, June 23. Los Angeles police officers met that flight and Lueck was not on it, Doubt said.

“At this time, there is no evidence that any harm has come to her, however because of the circumstances of the case, we want to make sure that she is alright,” Doubt said.

He said that since being reported missing, detectives have attempted to locate her through her phone, which is turned off.

Detectives have also interviewed family, friends and acquaintances from school, and checked locations she was known to frequent.

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Doubt said that officials have no evidence at this point that foul play was involved at this stage.

“Detectives have been working round the clock on this case and finding MacKenzie is of very high priority for us,” Doubt said. “A signification portion of our department has been assigned to work the case and we have been in contact with our federal, state and local partners.”

He also directed a specific plea to Lueck herself:

“Occasionally, the police work a missing person’s case where the person does not want to have contact with family or friends,” Doubt added. “If that is the case, MacKenzie, we are asking you to please reach out to the either Salt Lake City Police Department or a law enforcement agency where you are at. We just want to make sure you are safe and we will respect your wishes.”

Doubt then answered reporters questions, including clarifying that while the Lyft driver reported that Lueck did make contact with the person in the car, it has not been confirmed that she actually got in the car. He said officials have no reason to doubt the Lyft driver’s story. He took calls immediately after he dropped her off.

He added that he could not elaborate on the gap in time, a total of one hour and seven minutes, between when Lueck arrived at the Salt Lake International Airport and when she got into the Lyft.

Doubt said Lueck has no mental health issues that police are aware of and as far as they know, she does not have a history of disappearing for any period of time.

Lueck is described as being 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 120 pounds. She has medium-length blond hair and brown eyes.

Monday morning Salt Lake City Police tweeted: “SLCPD set up a dedicated tip line specifically for #MissingPerson MacKenzie Lueck, case 19-111129. Please call 801-799-4420 with any information. #MacKenzieLueck.” Doubt said six officials have been assigned to staff that line.

U of U statement

On Monday, the University of Utah also released a statement on the case:

“The University of Utah is deeply concerned about the well-being of MacKenzie ‘Kenzie’ Lueck and her family. The university is cooperating with the Salt Lake City Police Department, which is investigating her disappearance. MacKenzie is enrolled part-time as a senior at the U, and is majoring in kinesiology and pre-nursing and minoring in health. She has been enrolled at the U since fall 2014. Because of privacy laws that protect MacKenzie’s personal information, the university cannot provide further details.

“The university’s dean of students has spoken with MacKenzie’s family to offer support and to express the campus community’s shared hope for her safe return. The dean’s office is also talking with and providing support to MacKenzie’s classmates.”

Gephardt Daily will have more on this developing story as information is made available.

A gallery of provided photos appears below. Images shot on a diagonal have been tilted back for the sake of clarity.

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