The man accused of killing University of Utah student MacKenzie Lueck was investigated several years ago for allegedly raping a coworker. And Ayoola Ajayi’s ex-wife spoke out Monday, saying she feared him.
Ajayi, 31, has been in the Salt Lake County jail since Friday, accused of kidnapping and murdering Lueck on June 17 before burning her body. Ajayi has not yet been formally charged in Lueck’s death, and he remains in the jail without the opportunity to post bail.
A North Park police report released to The Salt Lake Tribune on Monday provides more details about an incident from 2014 when officers investigated a rape complaint.
According to that report, a woman who worked with him at a financial company in Logan reported to police on Nov. 24, 2014, that Ajayi had nonconsensual sex with her while they were at his home. She told police immediately that she did not want charges filed, the report reads, only wanting the incident reported “in case he did the same thing to someone else.”
The woman explained to police who had met her at Cache Valley Hospital that she went over to his home, and they began “doing stuff,” that “one thing led to another” and “she found herself in a compromising position.”
She told him she did not want to continue, she reported to police, but that he had sex with her anyway.
"She kept saying to me that she felt that it was her fault, because she was not assertive enough," an officer wrote in the report. "I explained that all she needed to do was to say no, and that should be enough."
The case gained little traction, however, after the woman didn’t want to go to the police station for a follow-up interview and didn’t want to cooperate with the investigation. Ajayi was never interviewed by officers.
The 31-year-old man has no criminal history in Utah apart from some traffic violations.
Ajayi’s ex-wife, Tenisha Ajayi, told KUTV for a story that aired Monday that she hasn’t spoken to her estranged husband in years. Though she was shocked by the most recent accusations, she said there were also signs of violence in their relationship.
“I just stopped talking to him because I was fearing for my life,” Tenisha Ajayi told KUTV’s Ginna Roe.
The ex-wife lives in Texas, and said she first met Ajayi through a family friend. The two never lived together, KUTV reports — he was in Utah, while she was in Dallas. She said he would send her money for her two children, but she stopped speaking with him when he began threatening her.
“If I wouldn’t do what he told me to do, he got real aggressive,” Tenisha Ajayi told KUTV. “He was like, I’ll have someone come kidnap you and kill you.”
According to court records, Tenisha Ajayi filed for divorce last October, and it was finalized in January.
Lueck, a 23-year-old University of Utah student, has been missing since June 17. That day she arrived back in Salt Lake City from California, where she was attending her grandmother’s funeral. She texted her mother when her flight landed about 1:30 a.m. and then ordered a Lyft to Hatch Park in North Salt Lake, nearly 9 miles from her home near Trolley Square.
Phone records showed Ayoola Ajayi was the last person Lueck communicated with before she disappeared, Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown has said. They also show Ajayi’s and Lueck’s phones were in Hatch Park within a minute of each other. The park is also the last place Lueck’s phone transmitted data, the chief said.
In a police interview with Ajayi, the suspect said he texted Lueck about 6 p.m. June 16, but had no further contact with her, according to Brown. Ajayi said he didn’t know what Lueck looked like and said he hadn’t seen her photos or online profile, Brown said, but he had several photos of her, including an image from an online profile. Brown did not disclose which website the profile was on.
Neighbors reported seeing Ajayi using gasoline to burn something June 17 and 18 in his backyard, Brown said, and police found a “fresh dig area" in the same spot in the yard. They conducted a “forensic excavation” of that part of the yard and found several charred items matching the description of Lueck’s personal belongings, Brown said.
Police also found charred human tissue, Brown said. DNA testing showed a match for Lueck.
Officials have not disclosed the nature of any relationship Ajayi and Lueck had or why they met in Hatch Park. Other than saying “tissue” belonging to Lueck had been found, the chief declined to say what remains have been recovered.
Salt Lake Tribune reporter Paighten Harkins contributed to this report.