Suspect in slaying of Utah student MacKenzie Lueck charged with kidnapping, sexually abusing another woman

(Photo courtesy Salt Lake County Jail) Ayoola Ajayi

The man accused of killing MacKenzie Lueck, a 23-year-old University of Utah student, has been charged with four new felony counts of kidnapping and sexually abusing another woman in March 2018.

This is the second set of new charges filed against 31-year-old Ayoola Ajayi since he was booked into jail in connection with Lueck’s alleged murder. Last week, prosecutors charged Ajayi with 19 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor after they found numerous pornographic photos of children on his computer.

The charges filed Tuesday in Utah’s 3rd District Court allege he abused a woman he met on an unspecified dating app. Ajayi invited the woman to his home to cook her dinner on March 10, 2018, and the charges allege that while they watched TV on his couch, he started “intensely” kissing her and trying to touch her inappropriately and forcefully.

When the woman tried to get away, Ajayi allegedly pinned her down and bit her at least three times, “causing her significant pain, and left bruising and bite marks," the charges said. He is now facing a first-degree felony charge of aggravated kidnapping and three counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said the woman came to law enforcement with these allegations after Lueck’s death. The delayed report “is understandable because many victims of sexual trauma don’t always disclose,” Gill said.

He declined to elaborate on the evidence prosecutors have but added they “feel comfortable" with the decision to charge Ajayi in the case.

Gill also declined to say whether anyone else has come forward with new allegations against Ajayi.

“All I can say is that, for us, this continues to be an open and active investigation. I’m not necessarily talking specifically about this case [filed Tuesday], but in general," he said.

“If there is anybody out there who’s a victim of a crime or intimidation, they should recognize there are resources available to them and to reach out to their local law enforcement to communicate those concerns," he said. "They’re not alone.”

Ajayi has been in Salt Lake County jail since June 28 after his arrest in Lueck’s death. Since then, law enforcement has said the investigation is ongoing, and prosecutors have continued to file charges as officers discover more information.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill becomes emotional while announcing charges against Ayoola Ajayi in the disappearance and homicide of MacKenzie Lueck. The announcement was made at a news conference in Salt Lake City on Wednesday July 10, 2019. From left are Heather Lindsay, Josh Graves, Marc Mathis, and Gill.

Ajayi has been charged with aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, obstruction of justice and abuse or desecration of a human body in connection with Lueck’s slaying.

Lueck disappeared early June 17, when she returned to Salt Lake City after flying to California for her grandmother’s funeral. She took a Lyft from the airport to Hatch Park in North Salt Lake, where police believe she met up with Ajayi, who once lived in an apartment complex near the park, around 3 a.m. She was reported missing later that week.

Lueck’s body — charred and with her arms bound behind her back with a zip tie and rope — was found by police in Logan Canyon on July 3 beneath some trees just off the main road. An autopsy indicated she died of blunt force trauma to her head.

Investigators have searched Lueck and Ajayi’s social media profiles and online activity, and have said evidence showed the two were texting the night Lueck disappeared. But police have not disclosed how they first met.

FILE - This undated photo taken from the Facebook page #FindMackenzieLueck shows a Mackenzie Lueck, 23, a senior at the University of Utah. (#FindMackenzieLueck via AP)