What We Know About Ayoola Ajayi, Arrested In Mackenzie Lueck Case
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — After an exhaustive investigation, police this morning arrested Ayoola Ajayi for aggravated murder and aggravated kidnapping, 12 days after the disappearance of University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck.
Police served a search warrant at Ajayi’s residence located at 547 North 1000 West in the Fairpark neighborhood of Salt Lake City on Wednesday night. During a press conference this morning, Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said investigators found charred remains in Ajayi’s backyard that matched the DNA profile for Lueck. He said they also recovered personal items belonging to Lueck.
Ajayi, 31, owns the home, and has been known to rent out the property’s basement on Airbnb.
According to public records, apart from some traffic tickets he received in Logan, Ajayi has no criminal record in Utah prior to today.
Public records also show the man was divorced in January this year, after being married for nearly eight years. He has lived in Utah for at least a decade.
Mackenzie Lueck, 23, went missing June 17 after arriving at the Salt Lake International Airport. She took a Lyft ride to Hatch Park in North Salt Lake, where she was dropped off about 3 a.m. Police say she met up with Ajayi at that park, and has not been heard from since.
Lueck is a current student at University of Utah. Family and friends became concerned when she missed a midterm and a flight to California several days after her disappearance.
KSL Investigates has uncovered new information regarding Ajayi’s involvement with the military. On his LinkedIn profile, Ajayi indicates he was employed by the U.S. Army as an Information Technology Specialist from September 2014 through June 2016.
Representatives with the Utah Army National Guard confirmed Private Ayoola Ajayi was a member of the 214th Forward Support Company based out of Tooele. However, he did not attend basic or advanced individual trainings and was discharged on June 10, 2015 after six months of service.
The Utah Army National Guard told us he could not have been a member of both the active Army and the Army National Guard at the same time. The spokesperson for the Utah Army National Guard says Ajayi’s dates don’t match official records.
Education & Job History
The LinkedIn profile also shows Ajayi has experience as an IT professional, with experience at various companies. Ajayi is also the registered owner of a company called Geeks Online.
His profile and resume indicate he studied at Utah State University and London South Bank University.
Utah State told KSL Investigators that Ajayi was enrolled for several “short periods” between 2009 and 2016, but he did not graduate. Ajayi also did not declare major.
KSL has reached out to London South Bank University for confirmation from the school but has not yet heard back.
Ajayi’s Modeling Career
For several years, Ajayi was an aspiring fitness model. He signed with Sandy-based talent agency, Stars Talent Studio.
“He booked a job, I know, in 2013 and then didn’t really give us more marketing stuff; didn’t take it too seriously,” Amber Evans, the owner of the agency, told KSL Investigator Brittany Glas. “He was just more of a matter-of-fact, really active, really, you know, smart.”
Evans’ company has a strict contract policy regarding the conduct of their talent.
“Our goal with our company is healthy role models in the media. So, he agreed and signed that contract,” Evans said.
She says she represented Ajayi for about five years before they ended the contract sometime last year.
“We talked on the phone that he just didn’t have time. He got a big boy job,” Evans said. “So, he was now a 9:00 – 5:00 which makes it hard to do this.”
Evans says she never thought Ajayi would be involved in a police investigation like this.
“It just makes you concerned for the other person’s family,” she said.
A number of Ajayi’s fitness modeling photographs remain online on a modeling industry website.
He also appeared in a video produced by a Philadelphia-based production company and shot in Utah.
A woman involved in the production, who did not wish to be identified, released a statement to KSL:
“I worked with Ayoola on a film shoot. We only worked together for one long day, but he was very professional, accommodating, and easy to work with. In my experience with him, he was gentle and kind.”
Author: ‘Forge Identity’
Amazon reveals Ajayi is also an author of a self-published thriller. His debut novel is titled Forge Identity and according to its description online, it is the story of Ezekiel, who witnessed a “gruesome murder” at 15 years old.
His “about the author” section indicates Ajayi was born and raised in Africa. It also says, “He has survived a tyrannical dictatorship, escaped a real life crime, traveled internationally, [and] excelled professionally in several industries,” among other details.