• Kym L. Pasqualini

UPDATE-FOUND DECEASED Police Probe Possible Tinder Dating Account of Missing University of Utah Stud

Mackenzie “Kenzie” Lueck, 23, is a vanished Monday, June 17, 2019, from Salt Lake City, Utah. She last contacted her family during the early hours of June 17, to let them know her plane had arrived. No one has heard from her since.

Lueck is a part-time student at the University of Utah in her senior year majoring in kinesiology and pre-nursing, attending the college since 2014.

Police have released surveillance footage at Salt Lake City International Airport, showing Lueck had deplaned at approximately 2:09 a.m.

It does not appear that Lueck talked to anyone while at the airport. The footage shows she was at the airport for approximately 31 minutes, quickly stopping to pick up her luggage before leaving the jetway and getting into a Lyft rideshare at 2:40 a.m.

Salt Lake City Assistant Police Chief Tim Doubt told reporters that Lueck sent a text to her mother at 2:01 a.m. on June 17, shortly after landing in Salt Lake City. Lueck had been returning from California after visiting family for her grandmother’s funeral whom she was very close to.

From the airport, Lueck did not go home but instead took the Lyft to Hatch Park in North Salt Lake City. The park is nestled between restaurants and apartment complexes with a police department up the street. A hot spot for families and community events, the park is large with two playgrounds, basketball court, baseball diamond, and grassy field.

Lueck arrived at the park at 2:59 a.m., and according to the Lyft driver, a person was there waiting for her in a car.

Doubt said that the description of the person in the car is vague and that has made it difficult to determine if the person waiting in the car was a man or a woman. During a press conference, the Assistant Police Chief urged the unknown person to please come forward.

The Lyft driver told police Lueck did not appear to be in any kind of distress when she was dropped off, and Doubt said police have no reason to question the driver’s story at this time.

Lyft spokeswoman Lauren Alexander told media that the route the driver took contained no irregularities and ended at the location requested by Lueck on the app. In addition, the Lyft driver, who has not been identified, gave rides to other Lyft customers after dropping Lueck off at the park.

Since her disappearance, Lueck has failed to show up at a laboratory where she is employed, missed her mid-term exam and failed to show up for her return scheduled flight to Los Angeles on June 23. There has also been no social media activity. Despite numerous attempts to reach her, Lueck’s phone has been turned off since she vanished.

Lueck’s cat and car are still at her house and police have yet to find her luggage.

Ashley Fine, one of Lueck’s friends told the Salt Lake City Tribune that Lueck is a dedicated student and said missing classes is not something she would do.

Doubt told reporters that occasionally police have missing person cases where the individuals do not want to have contact with family or friends. However, they are not aware of Lueck having any mental health issues or history of going off the grid.

Doubt also urged Lueck to contact the police right away if she is okay.” Mackenzie, in the case, if you just want to be left alone please let us know that you are safe,” Doubt said at the press conference.

The area of Hatch Park has been canvassed numerous times to get surveillance video and knocking on area resident’s doors to inquire if anyone saw anything the evening she vanished.

Salt Lake City police are also asking the public for help to answer several questions to include:

  • Has anyone had contact with Lueck by phone or online within the last week?

  • Does Lueck use an alternate phone?

  • Who did Lueck plan to meet in North Salt Lake City?

  • Does Lueck have any social media accounts that the family is not aware of?

Police received several tips that Lueck may have been using dating apps and might have been interested in meeting older men and casually dating. However, during an “Outnumbered Overtime” interview Lueck’s friend and sorority sister Kennedy Stoner said she could not confirm Lueck was on dating apps.

“In regards to her online activity, we are aware of this aspect and continue to look into all facets of her life for leads into her disappearance,” Doubt said at a press conference held on Tuesday, June 25.

KSL TV reported that two comments to a social media post were sent anonymously to a private investigator and subsequently forwarded to Utah cold cases podcast creators suggesting Lueck may have been seeking a “sugar daddy” type relationship with older men.

“Try Tinder and be blunt about it,” read one comment appearing to have been authored by an account belonging to a Kenzie Lueck.

The next comment reads, “Mine says ‘I want an SD/SB relationship with a real connection’ if don’t know what an SD/SB is, tell them, sugar daddy and sugar baby. But if they don’t know, they aren’t worth your time. Set (your) age preference to 35+. You’ll have the most luck there. Private message me, if you have more questions! I have experience.”

“I have some experience on seeking arrangements, online only, tinder, and currently have two lol,” the timestamp on the message indicates it was made 12 weeks ago.

The dating app noted the profile says the user is seeking a “mutually beneficial” relationship, from California, going to school in Utah and graduating kinesiology in Spring of 2020, along with what appears to be an image of Lueck.

Thomas Lauth, a private investigator based in Indianapolis, Ind., has worked on missing person cases for 25 years is watching the investigation closely. “One of the first things we do as private investigators is to investigate a missing person’s social and personal life,” said Lauth. “This is critical information that police can use to potentially move forward with the investigation and find her.”

Lueck’s friends and family have gathered to pass out fliers near Hatcher Park and pleading for information that may find her. “We are all worried and looking for you 24-7, I cannot sleep at night knowing you are out there,” said Stoner, “I am constantly thinking of you.”

Police are following up on more than 125 leads that have been called into the police department.

If you have any information that may help locate Mackenzie Lueck please Call Salt Lake City Police Department at 801-799-3000 or 801-799-4420.

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