Police Were Building Case Against Melvin Rowland When Student Was Shot
Oct 24, 2018, 8:52 AM
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After Lauren McCluskey filed multiple reports, police were working to build a case when she was killed Monday night, University of Utah Police Chief Dale Brophy said.
But did the university do enough to protect McCluskey from her alleged killer, Melvin Rowland, with the information they had?
That’s a critical question in attempting to find out what happened between the time McCluskey broke up with Rowland, Oct. 9 according to McCluskey’s mother, Jill McCluskey, and when Rowland is accused of shooting her to death Oct. 22.
In a family statement, Jill McCluskey said her daughter went to the university police the day after she broke up with Rowland. The track and field athlete wanted help getting her car back, which she had loaned to him.
Did police act with enough urgency in dealing with a registered sex offender who spent nine of the last 14 years in jail?
“We do everything we possibly can to keep everybody safe as possible,” Brophy said in a press conference. “Bad things happen to good people, which is very unfortunate in today’s world.”
Brophy said Lauren McCluskey filed police reports on Oct. 12 and 13. He said there was some follow-up work done, and the case was assigned to a detective who had contacted McCluskey.
“They were working to build a case against our suspect,” he said.
The police chief declined to speak about the details of those cases or whether the university police knew Rowland was a convicted sex offender.
Rowland was convicted of enticing a minor over the internet and attempted forcible sex abuse in 2004. Following that conviction, he spent the next eight years in prison.
“They had a prior relationship,” Brophy said of McCluskey and Rowland. “It had ended. …We don’t have anything else we can discuss at this point in time until the investigation is complete.”
KSL 5 TV has filed public records requests with the university for those reports.
“Once we have all of that information we will be happy to provide it to you,” said the police chief.
Brophy said his investigators did not have an address for Rowland when the police reports were filed. He said Rowland had walked away from a halfway house. However, the Department of Corrections said he was living on his own.
The chief said he was not aware of any restraining order against Rowland.
Brophy said he was not able to answer whether the university did enough to protect McCluskey after she complained to university police that she was being harassed.
“I want the answer to that question, as well,” he said. “When we have it, we’ll share that with you.”
The university communications director said it will be about 48 hours before the chief can provide more details on those cases filed by McCluskey. He characterized it as “an active investigation,” and those reports are part of it.