Lauren McCluskey, Fatally Shot By Her Jilted Boyfriend, Had Discovered He Lied About His Age & Criminal History

Melvin S. Rowland, 37, fatally shot Lauren McCluskey, a 21-year-old University of Utah senior, on Monday night.

October 23, 2018

Melvin Rowland [Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office]

Melvin Rowland [Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office]

By: Catherine Townsend

SALT LAKE CITY, UT — The grieving parents of the University of Utah student who was fatally shot by a man she dated have revealed that the gunman lied to their daugther about his age and criminal background.

Police discovered the body of Lauren McCluskey, a 21-year-old senior and record-breaking athlete, on Monday night in a car parked outside the south tower of the Medical Plaza.

According to McCluskey’s parents, Jill and Matthew, Lauren, who was majoring in communications, had previously dated her killer for “about a month.”

They said Rowland had "lied to her about his name, his age, and his criminal history," according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

She ended the relationship on October 9, they said, after she found out that Rowland was a convicted sex offender.

He had been convicted of attempted forcible sex abuse and enticing a minor over the internet in 2004, and was released from prison in 2013. As he was on parole, he was not supposed to have access to a gun.

McCluskey also reportedly discovered that he was 37 years old — several years older than he claimed.

On October 12 and 13, University police report that McCluskey reported she was being harassed by Rowland. The authorities had been looking for him already before learning of the fatal shooting.

After shooting McCluskey, authorities say that Rowland fled the scene. The manhunt ended at around 1:30 A.M. when his body was discovered at the Trinity African Methodist Episcopal Church. Rowland had broken the door down and fatally shot himself.

In a moving statement released to the media, Jill McCluskey said she was actually on the phone with her daughter Monday night when “Suddenly, I heard her yell, ‘No, no, no!’ I thought she might have been in a car accident. That was the last I heard from her.”

Jill McCluskey said that she remained on the line and that after a few minutes, “a young woman picked up the phone and said all of Lauren’s things were on the ground.”

University President Ruth V. Watkins issued a statement. It referred to McCluskey as “a highly regarded member of the university’s track and field team and an outstanding scholar, a senior majoring in communication.”

Additionally, the statement read: “As a campus community, we share grief over this tragic loss of life.”

Dean of students Lori McDonald stated, “Lauren was an outstanding student scholar. The trauma of last night’s event has clearly impacted our entire campus community.” The university cancelled classes on Tuesday.

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