KSL INVESTIGATES

Online Dating Site Surfaces In Search For Missing University Of Utah Student

Jun 26, 2019, 9:19 PM | Updated: 11:14 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Social media posts suggest Mackenzie Lueck, missing for over a week now, was interested in “sugar daddy” type relationships, raising questions about whether or not it played a part in her disappearance.

KSL Investigates obtained what appears to be a dating profile for the missing 23-year-old on a website called Seeking Arrangements. The site claims to match younger individuals looking for older, more affluent people for dates – sometimes in exchange for money.

The website maps its most active cities. The Salt Lake valley appears in red, indicating the number of users – as do other high-density areas across the country.

The website markets itself heavily to college students, as well. The site advertises that it can help students find a relationship with a partner who can help fund their education. It also offers free premium memberships to students with official college email addresses.

The site’s terms and conditions warn users to be wary of frauds and scams, and to verify the people they contact. Its terms also state in bold the site is not to be used for prostitution, escorting, or human trafficking. Terms also require users to release the site and its owners of any liability for what occurs on and off the site.

Seeking Arrangement’s senior public relations specialist, Kimberly De La Cruz, said they don’t release member information, and could not confirm whether Lueck had an account.

She said the site goes “above and beyond to keep its members safe, investigating all reports of members who violate its terms of use.”

However, De La Cruz acknowledged, “once a conversation between two members moves off site, there is no way for us to monitor what happens.”

She said there are 31,476 users of the site in Utah.

The advocacy group World Without Exploitation seeks to end human trafficking across the globe. Its National Director Lauren Hersh said this type of relationship is inherently dangerous and risky for individuals.

Because there is an expectation of payment, Hersh said there is an expectation for people to perform acceptably. Hersh said sex is a common expectation, and she is worried young people who feel empowered charging money for their companionship are ultimately beholden to the person offering payment.

The Utah Attorney General’s Office was unaware of this type of dating when contacted Wednesday. A spokesperson said the office would recommend users follow common online dating safety practices, such as meeting in a public place, verifying a person’s details, and not sharing personal information too soon in a potential relationship.

Investigators from the Salt Lake City Police Department have not said if a possible involvement with the site was a factor in Lueck’s disappearance.

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Online Dating Site Surfaces In Search For Missing University Of Utah Student