Officer accused of showing off images in extortion case of college student who was later killed

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – A police officer accused of showing off explicit images of a University of Utah student while investigating an extortion case she filed before her 2018 death has lost his job.

Officials said Friday that Officer Miguel Deras’ employment with the Logan City Police Department ended after a review of an investigation released by the state’s Department of Public Safety.

The review found that Deras “mishandled sensitive evidence” pertaining to 21-year-old Lauren McCluskey’s case while he was employed with the university’s police department.

An attorney for Deras has previously denied making inappropriate comments or bragging about the photos.

McCluskey, 21, was a track and field athlete and majored in communications.

McCluskey, a senior from Pullman, Washington, was shot outside a dormitory just before 10 p.m. Oct. 22, 2018, and police said she had had a relationship with the shooter, identified as Melvin Rowland.

Police followed Rowland, 37, into an off-campus church after he was spotted at about at about 1 a.m., University of Utah Police Lt. Brian Wahlin said.

Wahlin said Rowland’s body was found inside the church. Police didn’t provide circumstances of Rowland’s death.

The University of Utah also tweeted that Rowland had been located and was “no longer a threat.”

McCuskey’s body was found in a car near the university’s medical towers, Wahlin said.

Officials have since released a full report about the case involving the officer.

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