Cops Investigating Missing Utah Student Search House Where Owner Was Seen Burning Something in Yard
McKenzie Lueck was last seen on June 17 in a Salt Lake City park
Salt Lake City police descended on a home on the northwest side of the city on Wednesday night, hoping to find clues into the disappearance of University of Utah student McKenzie Lueck.
According to the Deseret News, Salt Lake Assistant Police Chief Tim Doubt told reporters at the scene that the house and its occupants have “a nexus to the case.”
On the night of June 17, the 23-year-old Lueck took a Lyft from the airport to a park and met someone else in a vehicle there, police say.
Lueck hasn’t been seen since. She hasn’t used her phone or contacted anyone, nor has she posted on social media. Her family filed a missing persons report on June 20.
During a Monday press conference, assistant police chief Tim Doubt told reporters that there was no evidence of foul play, and suggested that Lueck may have opted to “go off the grid.”
“MacKenzie, we are asking you to please reach out,” Doubt said at the press conference. “We just want to make sure that you are safe, and we will respect your wishes.”
But on Wednesday night, dozens of officers appeared to search the garage and driveway of the home. Doubt did not tell reporters what they were looking for, but said more answers could emerge in upcoming days.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that authorities took several bags of potential evidence from the home. They also towed away a vehicle.
Neighbors told the Tribune that the owner of the home generally keeps to himself, wearing earbuds while doing yard work and not speaking to anyone. They also told the paper that they recently saw the owner burning something in his backyard and the smoke was wafting onto their properties.
Police have not named the homeowner as a suspect or accused him of any wrongdoing.
On the day before she vanished, Lueck had been in her native California to attend her grandmother’s funeral. According to Doubt, she landed back in Salt Lake City at 1:35 a.m. She texted her mother at 2:01 a.m. At 2:42 a.m., she caught a Lyft to Hatch Park. There she met the person in the vehicle.
The Lyft driver told police that Lueck did not appear to be in distress. After dropping Lueck off, the Lyft driver went on to pick up other passengers. He has cooperated with police, Doubt says.
In a statement, Lueck’s family thanked the many people taking initiative to help find their daughter.
“Our primary goal is to find MacKenzie and bring her home,” they told KUTV in a statement. “Her family is grateful for the concern, prayers and the tireless efforts of the Salt Lake City Police and members of the community.”
Anyone with information about the 5’ 6”, 120 lb. Lueck is encouraged to call (801) 799-3000.