In a list filed in court late last week, prosecutors detailed for the first time what evidence they will use in building a case against the man charged with killing University of Utah student MacKenzie Lueck.
And it will include the findings from 28 search warrants executed by police in the days after her death.
Though the results of those searches have not yet been publicly disclosed, the list from the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office provides some idea of what officers were looking at as they started investigating Ayoola Ajayi, 31. He now faces four felony counts for Lueck’s disappearance, death and the desecration of her body.
The warrants listed in a court document filed Friday include short captions describing what was sought in each search: information in social media profiles for both Lueck and Ajayi, more than 2,000 photos on Lueck’s cameras, phone records, Ajayi’s electronics and other items found in his home, the contents of a garbage bag he discarded, his car and a receipt for a gas container and fuel at Smith’s.
The evidence list also includes a piece of scalp tissue — presumably part of the charred remains that detectives found in Ajayi’s backyard and that later matched Lueck’s DNA — and Lueck’s body, which was discovered in Logan Canyon several days later. It notes, too, several surveillance videos and interviews that prosecutors intend to use. Those are primarily with neighbors, employers and previous acquaintances of Ajayi, as well as a contractor and a landscaper who worked on his property.
Lueck’s case has captivated the state and the nation since she disappeared on June 17 and was later found dead.
The 23-year-old University of Utah student got off a flight from California, texted her parents that she had made it back to Salt Lake City, and then left the airport and was not heard from again. Her friends searched for days as police asked the community for tips.
Investigators have since said that Lueck took a Lyft from the airport to Hatch Park in North Salt Lake in the early morning of June 17. She was picked up there by Ajayi, police said, and her phone stopped transmitting data at that point. A search of Lueck’s phone showed Ajayi was the last person who communicated with her.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill has declined to comment on the “prior history” between Lueck and Ajayi. He also declined to comment Tuesday about the list filing, which disclosed to defense attorneys what evidence prosecutors intend to use — and tells them they may need to request any other evidence from police.
The Salt Lake Legal Defender Association, which is representing Ajayi, also said it is “not making any further comments at this time.”
Police began an all-night search at Ajayi’s home in Salt Lake City’s Fairpark neighborhood on June 26. In his backyard, investigators found a “fresh dig area” where neighbors had said they saw Ajayi using gasoline to burn something a few days earlier. They uncovered a charred human bone and other items, the charges filed against Ajayi said.
Cellphone records showed Ajayi was near Logan Canyon between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on June 25. On July 3, police went to the canyon and discovered a charred human body. DNA testing returned a profile consistent with Lueck, who died of blunt force trauma to the head, Gill said. Ajayi attended Utah State University, which is located in Logan, near the canyon.
On July 10, Ajayi was charged with aggravated murder and aggravated kidnapping, as well as obstruction of justice and desecration of a body. The aggravated murder charge carries a potential death penalty if Ajayi is convicted.
He has no criminal history in Utah apart from traffic citations. In 2012, he was barred from Utah State University after a theft investigation; but he had those records expunged. A colleague of his reported to North Park police in 2014 that he had sexually assaulted her. Neither report led to criminal charges.
He appeared in court for the first time in the Lueck case on July 15.