Suspect in college student’s killing wanted secret room, contractor says

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A construction contractor says the primary suspect in the killing of University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck approached him in April about building a secretive and soundproof room under a front porch.

Brian Wolf told the Desert News that the construction request from homeowner Ayoola A. Ajayi made him uneasy and included hooks mounted high on a concrete wall for reasons that didn’t make sense. Wolf turned the job down and reported the encounter to Salt Lake City police after seeing news reports Friday of Ajayi’s arrested in Lueck’s death.

Police officers stand in front of the home, right, of Ayoola A. Ajayi Friday, June 28, 2019, in Salt Lake City. Authorities are filing murder and kidnapping charges in the death of a Utah college student who disappeared 11 days ago. Salt Lake City police chief Mike Brown said 31-year-old Ajayi will be charged with aggravated murder, kidnaping and desecration of a body in the death of 23-year-old Mackenzie Lueck. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Salt Lake City Police spokeswoman Christina Judd confirmed Saturday that Wolf recounted the story to detectives.

“We don’t have any reason to discount his story,” she said. “We actually really appreciate it.”

A SWAT Team arrested Ajayi on Friday. Police said he will be charged with aggravated murder, kidnapping, obstruction of justice and desecration of a body in the death of 23-year-old Lueck.

At Ajayi’s property, police found a “fresh dig area,” burned human remains that matched Lueck’s DNA profile and charred items that belonged to her.

A judge has ordered Ajayi held without bail. It was not known if he has an attorney to speak on his behalf. He had not returned previous messages from The Associated Press prior to his arrest.

Wolf said that Ajayi wanted the requested soundproof, secret and secure room to be equipped with a fingerprint lock.

MacKenzie Lueck in a photo from KTVX
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

According to the contractor, Ajayi explained that he wanted to listen to loud music and to hide alcohol from a Mormon girlfriend.

Lueck disappeared on June 17, after she returned from a trip home for her grandmother’s funeral and took a Lyft ride from the airport to a park north of Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown has said that Ajayi acknowledged texting with Lueck around 6 p.m. on June 16, but denied talking to her later, knowing what she looked like or having seen any online profile for her — despite having several photos, including a profile picture.

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