Man formally charged in murder of Utah college student Mackenzie Lueck

The Utah man arrested in connection with the murder of college student Mackenzie Lueck was formally charged Wednesday with her death.

Ayoola Ajayi was charged with aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, obstructing justice and desecration of a body, the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office said at a news conference.

Ajayi, 31, was arrested June 28, more than a week after Lueck disappeared upon returning to Utah from a trip to Southern California for her grandmother's funeral. Her body was found last week in Logan Canyon in Logan, Utah.

District Attorney Sim Gill said Wednesday that the remains had been burned and were found in a shallow grave in a wooded area. Lueck's arms were bound behind her back with zip ties and she also suffered blunt force trauma to her skull, which a medical examiner said could have been fatal.

Human bone, muscular tissue, a charred cellphone and other personal items were also discovered in Ajayi's backyard, according to Gill. Neighbors had previously told authorities that Ajayi had burned something with gasoline in his backyard around June 17 or 18.

A search of Ajayi's vehicle turned up a gasoline can, Gill said Wednesday.

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Mackenzie Lueck murder case
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Mackenzie Lueck murder case
Ashley Fine speaks during a vigil for Mackenzie Lueck at the university in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 1, 2019. Friends and mourners gathered Monday night to remember Lueck, a Utah college student who was missing for nearly two weeks before police arrested a man accused of killing her and burying her charred remains in his backyard. (Jeremy Harmon/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)
This booking photo provided by the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office shows Ayoola A. Ajayi. Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said, Friday, June 28, 2019, that Ajayi was being charged with aggravated murder, kidnapping and desecration of a body in the death of 23-year-old Mackenzie Lueck. (Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office via AP)
ADDS ID OF SUSPECT AND CHARGES - Salt Lake City police take Ayoola A. Ajayi into custody in connection with missing University of Utah student MacKenzie Lueck in Salt Lake City on Friday, June 28, 2019. Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said, Friday that Ajayi was being charged with aggravated murder, kidnapping and desecration of a body in the death of 23-year-old student. (Kristin Murphy/The Deseret News via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown holds a news conference on Friday, June 28, 2019 in Salt Lake City. Brown said Ayoola A. Ajayi was being charged with aggravated murder, kidnapping and desecration of a body in the death of 23-year-old Mackenzie Lueck. He was arrested without incident earlier Friday morning by a SWAT team. (Francisco Kjolseth /The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - JUNE 27: A Salt Lake City police investigator searches through a garage of a house of an person of interest in the MacKenzie Lueck missing person case, gathering and remove evidence after issuing a search warrant on June 27, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah. MacKenzie Lueck who is from California and attends the University of Utah has been missing since the early morning hours of June 17, 2019, when she returned from California where she attended her grandmothers funeral. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
Salt Lake City police take Ayoola A. Ajayi into custody in connection with missing University of Utah student MacKenzie Lueck in Salt Lake City on Friday, June 28, 2019. Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said, Friday that Ajayi was being charged with aggravated murder, kidnapping and desecration of a body in the death of 23-year-old student. (Kristin Murphy/The Deseret News via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - JUNE 27: A picture hangs on the wall in a house of a person of interest in the MacKenzie Lueck missing person case, as police gathering and remove evidence after issuing a search warrant on June 27, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah. MacKenzie Lueck who is from California and attends the University of Utah has been missing since the early morning hours of June 17, 2019, when she returned from California where she attended her grandmothers funeral. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
Denis Dial, a longtime friend of the Lueck family, wipes a tear during a vigil for Mackenzie Lueck at the university in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 1, 2019. Friends and mourners gathered Monday night to remember Lueck, a Utah college student who was missing for nearly two weeks before police arrested a man accused of killing her and burying her charred remains in his backyard. (Jeremy Harmon/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)
Ashley Fine, right, and Kennedy Stoner, center, arrive at a vigil for Mackenzie Lueck at the university in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 1, 2019. Friends and mourners gathered Monday night to remember Lueck, a Utah college student who was missing for nearly two weeks before police arrested a man accused of killing her and burying her charred remains in his backyard. (Jeremy Harmon/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)
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Investigators do not have a motive and have not revealed how Ajayi and Lueck, who was a student at the University of Utah, knew each other.

Authorities said Lueck, originally from El Segundo, California, landed at the Salt Lake City International Airport early in the morning of June 17 and then took a Lyft to a park where she met someone.

Gill said Lueck's cellphone records showed she had exchanged several text messages with Ajayi. Her phone was "powered off" around 3 a.m. shortly after she arrived at the park and it was never turned back on, he said.

Lueck's and Ajayi's cellphone records placed them at the park at the same time, Gill said.

Lueck's family contacted police June 20 after she missed a midterm exam and failed to show up for a scheduled flight back to Los Angeles.

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