KSL Investigates Ayoola Ajayi’s Online Persona
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — You can learn a lot about someone when you take a look at their activity online. One social media network after another – various profiles and posts – all reveal certain details about a person’s interests, personality and their behavior. Ayoola Ajayi, 31, is no exception.
Felony charges were filed Wednesday against Ajayi for criminal homicide/aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, obstruction of justice and the abuse or desecration of a human body in connection to the murder of 23-year-old University of Utah student, Mackenzie Lueck.
Lueck’s body was discovered by detectives after they followed Ajayi’s digital footprint, according to the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office.
The charges come amid new revelations into the suspect’s alleged crafted online persona.
Since Ajayi’s arrest on June 28, multiple women have contacted KSL-TV, painting a picture of a man who was very active on online dating apps and various social media networks.
KSL Investigator Brittany Glas spoke to the women who have reported “concerning interactions” with Ajayi in recent years. Those women who interacted with Ajayi online say he painted a very different picture than what they experienced in their interactions with him.
While most of the women were not comfortable interviewing on-camera, the women told KSL they communicated with Ajayi on various social platforms, including Tinder, Snapchat, and Mutual, among others. At some point, the women all say Ajayi crossed a line.
And, although an initial search of Ajayi’s criminal history in Utah came up clean across the state, new information has emerged.
North Park Police Investigate Ajayi for Rape Complaint
In November 2014, a reported rape victim – an adult woman – made a complaint against Ajayi with the North Park Police Department, saying she did not want to pursue charges against him, but that she wanted the assault on file “in case he did the same thing to someone else.”
According to the police report, the victim told law enforcement Ajayi sent her text messages asking her to come over to his home. Once there, “She found herself in a compromising position.”
The complaint states, “She stated that she told him no,” and despite telling her he wouldn’t take things any further, the woman told police, Ajayi did. She said she felt she wasn’t assertive enough. Charges were never filed.
In July 2012, Utah State University Police arrested Ajayi for possession of stolen property – a class B misdemeanor. However, there is no longer any record of the case, which may explain why the charge didn’t show up in the criminal history search.
Cache County officials we spoke with say the best explanation is the case was expunged, meaning – it’s as if it never happened.
In the USU PD report, police said Ajayi was using a stolen iPad that was “full of his information and apps.” Police reviewed the iPad and learned he was using it to find a “female as a prospect to marry to keep from being deported.” That is – even though court records show he was already married to a woman named Tenisha Jenkins Ajayi – and had been, since June 2011. Public records show the two were married in Dallas, Texas.
Jenkins is quoted in media interviews, as saying she hasn’t lived with Ajayi in years. She said he threatened to kidnap her and kill her if she didn’t move to Utah.
Although the marriage wasn’t over until January of this year, websites Ajayi was using on the alleged stolen iPad at the time in 2012 still showed his relationship status as “single.”
Also, sometime the same year – seven years ago – KSL has discovered a Facebook message Ajayi sent to a friend, saying he broke up just weeks before he was supposed to get married.
Days before Lueck’s murder, Ajayi asked out a woman he didn’t know via text after retrieving information through “Tools” app
In the most recent instance KSL Investigators have discovered prior to his arrest, Ajayi texted a woman he didn’t know to ask her out.
Sara Vranes is friends with that woman. Vranes says Ajayi obtained her friend’s cell phone number through a church directory app.
“It’s scary, it really is scary, and it makes me not want to trust anyone and not to use any apps or anything,” she said.
Ajayi was on the roster of the same Salt Lake-area mid-singles ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as both women. Ajayi was legally married when he joined.
Ajayi sent the text messages not even two weeks prior to Lueck’s murder.
“I was shaking when I found out, when I saw that. I knew he had asked my friend out, but I realized that it was on June 5th that that happened. It shook me and a lot of my girlfriends in the ward,” Vranes explained. “He said, ‘Hey, like, I haven’t talked to you at church. I’m just really shy. But maybe we can get to know each other and I can take you out.’ She was like, ‘No, thanks.’”
Vranes says she is relieved her friend didn’t go out with him. She believes some women feel obligated to go out on a date with a man simply because they asked.
“If you feel uncomfortable, you don’t have to. But that’s not what is taught in, especially a conservative culture,” she said. “Being in a patriarchal society – a conservative, religious culture where women are maybe implicitly or explicitly taught to be nice, to be quiet, to be small, to say ‘yes,’ to not you know, ruffle any feathers, I want that [mentality] to be out of the way. I want that gone because women are strong and Mormon women are strong. We have voices. Let’s honor our history of our foremothers before, let’s use our voices, and let’s also say ‘no,’ as a way to take care of ourselves.”
Vranes says the fact that Ajayi was able to obtain the woman’s number the way he did is concerning.
“The part that is the most disturbing is the fact that all of our information is just, out there for anyone who just, is a member of our ward. You don’t know if they’re a good person, but they have your email address, your phone number and your home address,” she said.
She wants more action to be taken to protect people’s information.
“I want there to be an opt-in option,” Vranes said. “If someone wants to get in touch with me, they can find me online in other ways. They don’t have to have my address, just so easily accessible to them.”
“In order to respect the privacy of all Mutual users, we can not reveal the identity of any of our users. However, we are keenly aware of the recent tragedy and pray for the victim’s family. We will always cooperate with any law enforcement efforts, but have not been contacted in this case.” – Mutual Team
Fact-Checking the Suspect’s Online Resume
Ajayi, who is from Nigeria, Africa, represented himself online as an educated, aspiring fitness model, an author, a soldier and an IT professional. Because Ajayi controlled the narrative online, he was able to at least at times, stretch the truth – creating an online persona that does not match what KSL Investigators have uncovered since the suspect was identified.
Scanning his LinkedIn profile online, KSL has been able to confirm with Dell that Ajayi was an employee at the company’s Draper, Utah, office. However, as of July 2019, company representatives say he is no longer employed there. Dell would not release his dates of employment.
Ajayi was also a contract employee at Goldman Sachs in Salt Lake, where he worked in IT. He worked at Goldman for the contracted company from September 2017 through August 2018.
We also now know that although Ajayi claims to have attended London South Bank University, student services and registry teams for the college confirm Ajayi was not a student there.
Public records for the Nigerian man show he was divorced in January this year, after being legally married for nearly eight years. He’s been in the United States for at least a decade, after traveling to Logan, Utah, to attend Utah State University on a student visa.