University of Utah track athlete shot to death after cops say she was abducted by sex offender; suspect later found dead

A track and field athlete at the University of Utah was abducted and killed on campus on Monday night.

The suspected killer, a 37-year-old registered sex offender, was found dead at a nearby church in Salt Lake City early Tuesday.

Investigators say Lauren McCluskey was taken from a parking lot outside a residence hall. Her body was found in a parked car later Monday.

It is believed that Melvin Rowland, a registered sex offender, had been arguing with McCluskey when the abduction took place. Cops indicated that McCluskey and Rowland knew each other, according to KUTV.

McCluskey was a "highly regarded member of the university’s track and field team and an outstanding scholar," the school said early Tuesday.

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Hundreds of petroglyphs cover Newspaper Rock, in Bears Ears National Monument, Utah, U.S., October 29, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen 
Comb Wash cuts from north to south through Cedar Mesa in Bears Ears National Monument near Blanding, Utah, U.S., October 27, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen 
A creek runs through Arch Canyon in Bears Ears National Monument near Blanding, Utah, U.S., October 27, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen 
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Rock climber David Rozul makes an ascent in Indian Creek, an area that attracts outdoor recreationists from around the world to Bears Ears National Monument, Utah, U.S., October 29, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen 
Trick-or-treaters pose for a photograph in Blanding, Utah, U.S., October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen
A sign showing support for Bears Ears National Monument is seen in a front yard in Bluff, Utah, U.S., October 28, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen 
Kinley Wojcik looks at her phone as she works behind the counter at Higher Grounds Coffee and Soda, the only dedicated coffee shop in Blanding, Utah, U.S., October 30, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen 
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An all-terrain vehicle stands covered up in a front yard in Blanding, Utah, U.S., October 30, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen 
Tewa Martin and Sylas Burbank, both from Montezuma Creek, sit on a truck before riding in the Bluff Navajo Fair parade in Bluff, Utah, U.S., October 28, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen 
The moon glows over Indian Creek in the northern portion of Bears Ears National Monument, Utah, U.S., October 29, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen 
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Albert Cly, Jr. poses for a photograph outside his home in Westwater, a small Native American community near Blanding, Utah, U.S., October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen 
Oil pumpjacks are seen near Aneth, Utah, U.S., October 29, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen 
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"Her family is understandably in shock at this news about their daughter," the school said. "They are heartbroken. We have and continue to offer our full support to them at this terrible time."

A vigil is planned for Lauren on campus on Wednesday at 5 p.m. Tuesday's classes were canceled, but the campus, including the Counseling Center, will be open.

"As a campus community, we share grief over this tragic loss of life. Our deepest sympathy is extended to Lauren’s family and friends," the school said.

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