Suspect in Utah Student's Killing Asked Contractor to Build 'Weird' Soundproof Room Under Porch
More than a month before his arrest, the man charged with murdering 23-year-old University of Utah student MacKenzie Lueck allegedly tried to hire an independent contractor to construct a secret, soundproof room beneath his front porch, according to reports.
Brian Wolf told the Deseret News he ultimately turned down the job after meeting with Ayoola Ajayi at the 31-year-old suspect’s Salt Lake City home in early April.
According to Wolf, he had no problem with Ajayi’s project until Ajayi asked if hooks could be installed in the walls.
“As soon as he said he wanted the hooks above head height, I was like, ‘Why do you need big hooks up there?,'” recalled Wolf of his April 4 meeting with Ajayi. “And he said it was to hang a wine rack. I said, ‘Well, I can hang a wine rack and make it look a lot nicer than these big, gaudy hooks.'”
FOX 13 reports that Wolf was told he had an unlimited budget for the secret room, which he wanted to be accessible via a fingerprint locking mechanism.
Ajayi also allegedly wanted the job completed quickly. “It just got weirder and weirder, the more he was talking to me,” Wolf explained. “He said he wanted to listen to his music really loud” before adding, “his Mormon girlfriend was coming into town and he drank alcohol. So he wanted to hide his alcohol.”
Wolf said he moved on with his life, not giving the potential job a second thought. Then, he recognized Ajayi’s home in television news coverage about the search for Lueck, who was reported missing on June 20, he told CNN.
Lueck disappeared after taking a Lyft to a Salt Lake City park from the airport. At the park, she met up with a person in another vehicle. Authorities now believe that mystery driver to be Ajayi.
On Friday, Ajayi was arrested on suspicion of aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, obstruction of justice and desecration of a body. Ajayi’s arrest was announced during a Friday press conference by Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown.
During the press conference, Chief Brown told reporters that a search of Ajayi’s home had uncovered a burned area with some of Lueck’s charred personal items, as well as human tissue matching her DNA.
Ajayi has not yet had a hearing to enter a plea or determine whether he can be freed on bail. It is unclear whether he has retained an attorney to speak on his behalf.
PEOPLE’s call to his home phone number went unanswered.
Speaking to the Deseret News, Wolf realized his uncanny connection to the case when he “sat down to drink a soda, and I turned on the news.” He said, “As soon as I turned it on, his house was there, and my heart just dropped. I’m like, ‘No way.’ I remembered the blue light in the window and the camera doorbell right there in the corner.”
Wolf said he was overcome with emotion. “I was shaking, and I don’t know, it was just overwhelming,” he said. “I called the Salt Lake City Police Department right away and told them what I knew. They were saying he was a person of interest, and what he wanted me to build, this woman was missing, it was just way too close to reality, I guess.”
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“I’m still trying to soak it all in,” he continued. “It’s sad what happened to [Lueck], and I hope that dude goes away forever. He wanted me to build a weird room.”