Update: As of June 25, police are still searching for missing University of Utah student MacKenzie Lueck.
Close friends of MacKenzie Lueck, the University of Utah student who hasn’t been seen in nearly a week, are convinced she is in danger. She is not the kind of person who would let her cat starve, miss a wedding, blow off work or skip midterm exams.
Those are some of the commitments Lueck, 23, hasn’t met this week, according to Kennedy Stoner, a sorority sister who counts Lueck as a best friend.
“For her to not reach out to me is very unlike her. She is usually in touch with me every day,” Stoner said Sunday afternoon at a news conference in front of Salt Lake City police headquarters. “We don’t believe she would miss a midterm because she was stressed. I am positive something is wrong. ... I don’t believe she would go off and not contact one person.”
At the time of her disappearance, Lueck was returning from a trip to Southern California, where she attended her grandmother’s funeral. Lueck, who goes by Kenzie, landed at Salt Lake City International Airport about 1 a.m. Monday, June 17. She texted her parents to let them know she made it safe, then got into a Lyft. The driver dropped her off in North Salt Lake. And she hasn’t been heard from since.
Police have released no details about the location where Lueck was dropped off, which is a 20-minute drive northwest of her home in Salt Lake City.
What’s the status of the search?
Salt Lake City police issued a news release Saturday urging the public to help find Lueck, saying “detectives are concerned for MacKenzie’s welfare.” But in that same release, they said investigators have not “discovered any information that would lead us to believe that MacKenzie has been harmed or is in danger at this time.”
There is no formal search party.
“We don’t have anyone searching any particular area right now,” Salt Lake City police Sgt. Brandon Shearer said Saturday, “because we don’t have any credible evidence of where she might be.”
Lueck’s friends spent Saturday handing out missing person fliers around Liberty Park in Salt Lake City.
She was supposed to fly back to Los Angeles on Sunday to attend an upcoming wedding, but she did not make the flight, according to friend Ashley Fine.
“She threw a birthday party for her cat, so for her not to come home to her cat is not adding up,” Fine said Sunday standing side by side with Stoner.
Police posted on Facebook that detectives have worked throughout the weekend and are following any and all leads, though declined to answer any questions from reporters.
“We are working diligently to maintain the integrity of this case and ask that anyone with information on MacKenzie or her possible location please contact us,” the police statement reads, offering the nonemergency phone number 801-799-3000.
What about the Lyft driver?
Police have talked to the Lyft driver and have been in contact with the ride-hailing company.
“We’ve confirmed with Lyft, the app, that’s where she requested to go, and with the driver that that’s where she did go,” Shearer said.
Shearer said the driver and Lyft have been cooperative. Lyft, in a statement to FOX 13, said the car’s route showed no irregularities and the driver picked up more app users immediately after making Lueck’s stop.
What do we know about Lueck?
She lives near Trolley Square in Salt Lake City and is a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority. Fine, one of Lueck’s sorority sisters, has been organizing volunteers to help in the informal search. Lueck has straight blond hair and a thin, athletic build and wears eyelash extensions. An image of a dreamcatcher is tattooed on the middle of her back.
Fine said Sunday that Lueck’s phone has been off since she went missing on Monday and she hasn’t posted on social media. Her car is still at her home and her luggage hasn’t been found.
Fine said Lueck doesn’t have a significant other and she didn’t know why she would take a ride to North Salt Lake, instead of going directly to her home. Fine suspects Lueck went there to meet someone because she would have no other known reason to head to the industrial town with few businesses open in the middle of the night.
“Kenzie, if you can hear this, we are all worried and we are looking out for you 24/7,” Stoner said into a bank of television cameras Sunday. “We are not able to sleep. I cannot sleep at night knowing you are out there. Please let us know if you are safe.”
How to help?
Anyone with information about Lueck’s whereabouts can contact Salt Lake City Police at 801-799-3000 and reference case No. 19-111129.
And there’s a Facebook page devoted to the search for Lueck.