Report: Slain Utah athlete repeatedly called school, Salt Lake City police about harasser

Lauren McCluskey, the 21-year-old Utah track athlete who was abducted outside her Salt Lake City dorm and killed in October, had called both University of Utah police and Salt Lake City police multiple times to report her attacker’s harassment before her death, according to 911 calls obtained by CNN.

McCluskey was found dead in a parked car on campus on October 23 shortly after she had an argument outside of her residence hall with 37-year-old Melvin Rowland. McCluskey and Rowland had met in a bar in September and dated for about a month, per the report, before McCluskey learned that he was a convicted sex offender and had lied about his age and name. Rowland spent more than a decade in prison, was released on parole three times, and violated his parole and returned to prison twice. He killed himself hours after McCluskey’s death following a police chase.

McCluskey ended the relationship on October 9, blocked all communication from him and his friends, and even had university police accompany her to retrieve her car, which she had let him borrow. Rowland, though, wouldn’t leave her alone.

Over the next two weeks, according to CNN, McCluskey called University of Utah police multiple to report the harassment and an attempted extortion. She told police that she sent him $1,000 “in hopes of keeping compromising photos of her private.”

However McCluskey had grown frustrated at a lack of progress by university police, who she felt weren’t doing enough to stop Rowland, and started calling Salt Lake City police.

“I’m worried because I’ve been working with the campus police at the U, and last Saturday I reported and I haven’t gotten an update,” McCluskey told Salt Lake City police in a call to 911, via CNN. “They haven’t updated or done anything.”

16 PHOTOS
Lauren McCluskey homicide case
See Gallery
Lauren McCluskey homicide case

Lauren McCluskey

(Photo: Steve C. Wilson, University of Utah)

This undated photo provided by the Utah Department of Corrections shows Melvin Rowland. Authorities say that Rowland, suspected of killing his ex-girlfriend, University of Utah student-athlete Lauren McCluskey, was found dead in an off-campus church early Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018. (Utah Department of Corrections via AP)
The University of Utah campus is shown from Rice-Eccles Stadium Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, in Salt Lake City. Lauren McCluskey, 21, a University of Utah student and track athlete, was shot and killed on campus by a former boyfriend she had filed a police complaint against after she learned he was a sex offender and broke off the relationship, authorities said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Lauren McCluskey (Photo: University of Utah)
University of Utah Police Chief Dale Brophy, left, and President Ruth Watkins speak during a press briefing on the fatal shooting of Lauren McCluskey, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018 in Salt Lake City. A sex offender parolee who killed a University of Utah student and track athlete had been lurking on campus for days trying to confront the woman who had broken up with him weeks earlier when she discovered his criminal background, authorities said Thursday. (Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)
Students from the University of Utah look esday, Oct. 23, 2018, in Salt Lake City, in the direction of a parking lot where Lauren McCluskey's body was found in a car. McCluskey, 21, a University of Utah student and track athlete, was shot and killed on campus by a former boyfriend she had filed a police complaint against after she learned he was a sex offender and broke off the relationship, authorities said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
The Salt Lake City skyline is shown Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018. Lauren McCluskey, 21, a University of Utah student and track athlete, was shot and killed on campus by a former boyfriend she had filed a police complaint against after she learned he was a sex offender and broke off the relationship, authorities said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
University of Utah President Ruth Watkins, closes her eyes and collects her thoughts as she addresses the media during a press briefing on the fatal shooting of Lauren McCluskey at the Rice-Eccles Stadium ticket office Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018 in Salt Lake City. A sex offender parolee who killed a University of Utah student and track athlete had been lurking on campus for days trying to confront the woman who had broken up with him weeks earlier when she discovered his criminal background, authorities said Thursday. (Steve Griffi /The Deseret News via AP)
University of Utah Athletics Director Mark Harlan speaks during a vigil for Lauren McCluskey on Wednesday. Oct 24, 2018 in Salt Lake City. Police said Melvin Rowland fatally shot McCluskey of Pullman, Washington, on Monday night on the university campus and then killed himself in a church as officers closed in. (Jeremy Harmon/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)
People gather outside the Trinity African Methodist Episcopal Church Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, in Salt Lake City, where Melvin Rowland, suspected of killing his ex-girlfriend, University of Utah student-athlete Lauren McCluskey, was found dead
Lauren McCluskey (Photo: University of Utah)
Lauren McCluskey's parents, Matt and Jill McCluskey, hug some of their daughter's teammates after a vigil for their daughter on Wednesday. Oct 24, 2018 in Salt Lake City. Police said Melvin Rowland fatally shot McCluskey of Pullman, Washington, on Monday night on the university campus and then killed himself in a church as officers closed in. (Jeremy Harmon/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)
In this undated photo provided by the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office shows Melvin Rowland. A University of Utah student and track athlete, Lauren McCluskey, who was shot and killed on campus by her former boyfriend, Rowland, had filed a police complaint against him after she learned he was a sex offender and broke off the relationship, authorities said Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018. McCluskey was found shot in a car Monday night near on-campus student housing. (Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office via AP)
University of Utah Police Chief Dale Brophy, left, and President Ruth Watkins speak during a press briefing on the fatal shooting of Lauren McCluskey, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018 in Salt Lake City. A sex offender parolee who killed a University of Utah student and track athlete had been lurking on campus for days trying to confront the woman who had broken up with him weeks earlier when she discovered his criminal background, authorities said Thursday. (Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)
Lauren McCluskey (Photo: University of Utah)
University of Utah President Ruth Watkins, right, and University of Utah Police Chief Dale Brophy, left, speak during a press briefing on the fatal shooting of Lauren McCluskey, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018 in Salt Lake City. A sex offender parolee who killed a University of Utah student and track athlete had been lurking on campus for days trying to confront the woman who had broken up with him weeks earlier when she discovered his criminal background, authorities said Thursday. (Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

She first called Salt Lake City police on October 13 after she had been blackmailed for money, per the report. They, though, advised her to call university police instead. When she called them a week later, they told her the same thing.

I’ve contacted them already, I just wanted to talk to you as well,” McCluskey said in a call to 911, via CNN. “Yeah, I was just concerned because I wasn’t sure how long they were gonna take.”

An internal review after her death

University police conducted an internal review after her death, which the university said was not the result of any individual mistakes. The review also found university officers didn’t know how to look up criminal background or parole information.

“The review team’s report identified gaps in training, awareness and enforcement of certain policies rather than lapses in individual performance,” the university said, via CNN.

Her parents disputed the university’s report shortly after it was released.

“There were numerous opportunities to protect her during the almost two weeks between the time when our daughter began expressing repeated, elevating, and persistent concerns about her situation and the time of her murder,” Jill and Matthew McCluskey wrote.

More from Yahoo Sports:
LeBron listed as day-to-day with slight groin strain
Report: UFC fighter injured in grenade attack
Twitter roasts unflattering Draymond sketch
Bears’ Mack puts on Bulls uniform for Christmas





 

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.