Police, friends looking for missing Utah university student

Associated Press

Salt Lake City – Police and friends are investigating the disappearance of a University of Utah student who hasn’t been heard from in over a week after returning from a visit to California.

Friends say Mackenzie Lueck texted her parents at 1 a.m. on June 17 letting them know her plane landed safely in Salt Lake City. She was returning from her grandmother’s funeral.

A joggers runs pass a poster of MacKenzie Luek at Liberty Park Monday, June 24, 2019, in Salt Lake City.

Leuck, 23, then took a Lyft ride from the airport to a suburb where she does not live. Salt Lake City Police Detective Greg Wilking said Monday the dropoff was not a private residence or business. Police aren’t disclosing the location. No one has heard from Lueck since.

Lyft spokeswoman Lauren Alexander said the route contained no irregularities and ended at the address requested by Lueck. The driver, whose identity has not been revealed, continued to provide rides after dropping the student off.

Wilking said police have cleared the driver as a potential suspect.

Police have issued a missing persons poster and were searching the area where she was last seen but say they have no evidence she is hurt or in danger.

“Nothing suggests she is in trouble other than we haven’t heard from her,” Wilking said.

Ashley Fine, one of Lueck’s friends, told The Salt Lake Tribune that Lueck’s phone has been off since last Monday, and she has not been active on social media. She didn’t show up for her job at a Salt Lake City laboratory or her classes, she said.

Lueck is a senior at the University of Utah majoring in pre-nursing, spokesman Chris Nelson said.

Fine described Lueck as a dedicated student and said missing classes was very unlike her.

Lueck’s cat and car remain at her house, which is about a 20-minute ride from where she was last seen. Her luggage hasn’t been located either, Fine said.

Lueck’s parents reported her missing Thursday. Friends spent the weekend passing out flyers at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City and asking people to spread the word about Lueck’s disappearance. They have set up a Facebook page to collect information that may aid police in their search.

“We are all worried and looking out for you 24-7, I cannot sleep at night knowing you are out there,” said Kennedy Stoner, a friend of Lueck, during a news conference Sunday. “I am constantly thinking of you.”