Disturbing New Allegations About The Suspect Arrested For Mackenzie Lueck's Murder
Reports claim the suspect asked for a secret, soundproofed room in his home and that he published a novel last year in which murder victims get burned to death.
SALT LAKE CITY, UT — At a press conference on Friday, police announced they had arrested a suspect in connection to the kidnapping and murder of 23-year-old college student Mackenzie Lueck, who had been missing for the previous 11 days.
Since then, news reports have emerged claiming that the accused individual once asked a contractor to build a “secret, soundproof” room in his home and that, in 2018, he published a novel in which the bodies of murder victims get burned.
Addressing the press, Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown stated that Ayoola Ajayi, 31, had been arrested and charged with aggravated murder, kidnapping, and desecration of a body.
Chief Brown said police believe Mackenzie Lueck took a Lyft to meet Ajayi in a park at around 3 A.M. on June 17. Three days later, Lueck’s family reported her missing.
Police investigations into her phone records led investigators to Ajayi. It appeared as though Ajayi was the last person to whom Lueck had spoken and that his phone was in the same park at around the same time she went there.
Investigators said Ajayi’s neighbors reported seeing him using gasoline to burn something in his backyard later on June 17.
On Wednesday, a search of the yard allegedly turned up burned items that had belonged to Lueck, along with human tissue, which authorities said matched the missing woman’s DNA profile.
Pending further investigation, Chief Brown did not specify if Lueck and Ajayi had previously known each other or if anyone else was involved.
Over the weekend, numerous media outlets reported further claims and allegations regarding Ayoola Ajayi.
Speaking to Salt Lake City ABC affiliate KTVX, a local contractor named Brian Wolf alleged that about two months before Lueck vanished, Ajayi had asked him to build what the station described as “a soundproof room in his home with hooks drilled into concrete walls and a secret entrance with a thumb lock.”
Wolf said that, despite Ajayi’s apparent willingness to pay any price, he turned the job down, stating, “My gut was not normal. I mean, who needs a room with a thumb locks and hooks? In my opinion it was for something bad…. I got the hell out of there.”
Also talking to local Fox affiliate WXIN, Wolf said he asked Ajayi why he wanted a “secret, soundproof” room the size of a closet. According to Wolf, “He just said that his girlfriend was coming into town and he needed to get it done before she got there because she was a Mormon girl. She didn’t know he drank, so he wanted to hide the alcohol from her, and I was like, ‘Well, why do you need it to be soundproof?’”
Wolf also said that he called police when he saw reports about Ajayi being a person of interest on Wednesday.
In addition, professional house cleaner Tara Chatterton told an ABC reporter that, while working in Ajayi’s home, she got scared upon seeing an unusual number of surveillance cameras.
Chatterton reportedly said, “I’ve cleaned several houses and people have had cameras, but this one just stood out a little bit more because of how they were placed in the master bedroom…. I just felt uncomfortable — and not safe.”
The Daily Mail and other outlets have reported that Ajayi was born in Nigeria and served in the U.S. Army as an Information Technology Specialist for nearly two years before leaving in June 2016.
The newspaper further reports that, in 2018, Ajayi self-published a book entitled Forge Identity, which it calls a “murder novel.” The book’s plot allegedly centers on a 15-year-old in Nigeria and contains descriptions of at least two characters being killed and burned.
According to CNN, Ajayi’s LinkedIn page states he has been employed at Dell as a Senior Technical Support Analyst for the past 10 months and that he previously worked for Goldman Sachs.
CNN also quotes Tom Camomile, an alleged neighbor of Ajayi’s, describing the suspect as a “smart guy” and a “computer geek.” Camomile also reportedly expressed surprised when Ajayi was named as a person of interest last week, saying, “I think he's a man of high integrity, but you don't know anyone. Surprises pop up all the time.”
Ajayi is being held without bail. It's not known at this time whether he has an attorney to speak on his behalf, and he has not entered a plea.