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June 27 update on Mackenzie Lueck investigation
Posted by SLC Police on Thursday, June 27, 2019
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, June 27, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Salt Lake City police have identified a person of interest in the disappearance of 23-year-old MacKenzie Lueck, a University of Utah student missing since June 17.
At a 10 a.m. Thursday press conference Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown confirmed the owner of a house searched by officers on Wednesday is that person of interest.
Brown said the man had been questioned, but not arrested.
Brown said the SLCPD always strives to be open and transparent, but was withholding many details, trying to balance the public’s wish to know with “the integrity of this investigation. But we need the help of the public in this case.”
Brown said the homeowner — whose name is not yet being confirmed since no charges have been filed — recently listed a free mattress and box springs, which someone picked up from the address, at 547 N. 1000 West.
Brown said police would like to recover that mattress and box springs as part of their investigation. Anyone who knows the whereabouts of the bed can call the SLCPD at the designated Lueck tip line, 801-799-4420.
Brown declined to answer reporters’ questions about findings at the scene, which was searched Wednesday by police dogs and officers with shovels focusing on the area of a recent bonfire.
Brown also declined to confirm whether any possible remains had been found at the location, and why a medical examiners’ vehicle responded to the location, or what evidence that vehicle may have left with.
Brown did say he had spoken to Lueck’s father, Greg, who last saw her on Fathers’ Day weekend. Brown said he could feel the “the heartache and the pain and the suffering” of Lueck’s father, awaiting information on evidence or conclusion in his daughter’s case.
He pledged to Lueck’s father he would do everything in his power to solve the missing person case, Brown said.
Brown said the intensive investigation had been conducted mostly through digital forensics, and included the use of URLs, IP addresses, texting and apps, and that multiple warrants had been served.
The basement of the residence is used as an AirBNB, renting for $27 per night, and a photo of the bed in question was available online. See it below:
The mattress was reportedly given away in a social media posting published with the following photo:
Brown said the investigation remains classified as a missing person case. The identification of the address searched Wednesday, “came through investigation of our detectives.” he said.
A timeline showing the progression of Lueck’s case appears below:
June 17, 1:35 a.m. — Lueck’s return flight from Southern California arrived at the Salt Lake International Airport. Soon after, she texted her family in California to let them know she arrived safely.
At 2:42 a.m., she took a Lyft from the airport to North Salt Lake’s Hatch Park, arriving at 2:59 a.m. Her driver saw her getting into another vehicle before continuing with his ongoing Lyft assignments.
June 20 — Lueck missed a midterm exam at the University of Utah. At 4 p.m., she was reported to police as missing.
June 23, Sunday — Lueck missed a scheduled flight back to California.
Tuesday — Salt Lake City police released the last known images of Lueck, taken from a surveillance recording from the airport.
Wednesday — Police obtain and execute a warrant to search a residence in the Fairpark area of Salt Lake City, and confirmed the scene is related to Lueck’s case. They towed the vehicle of the home’s owner. Overnight, police erected tents in the backyard, where neighbors say a large bonfire had burned days earlier, emitting a foul odor.
At 10 p.m., SLCPD Assistant Chief Tim Doubt talked to the media.
“Obviously we are treating this with a high degree of care and caution as it is an open case, and given the nature of this case, we just don’t want to make any mistakes,” he said. “We will continue to follow leads until this is resolved.”
Doubt also stressed that SLCPD’s dedicated tip line in the case is still open, and reachable at 801-799-4420.