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.

"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.