College track star killed by registered sex offender, suspect found dead hours later: Police

A University of Utah student was found dead on Monday inside her car on campus, and a man accused of killing her was found dead hours laters.

Salt Lake City’s FOX13 reports that Lauren McCluskey, of Pullman, Washington, was found deceased at around 9 p.m. on Monday, in a car near the medical towers on campus. According to University of Utah Police Lt. Brian Wahlin, a convicted sex offender, identified as 37-year-old Melvin Rowland, is accused of fatally shooting the student.

The suspect landed on police radar after they determined he had a previous relationship with the victim, and that the pair had been in a dispute on Monday. They attempted to locate Rowland for hours, then at around 1 a.m. on Tuesday morning, he was spotted close to 600 South 200 East in Salt Lake City. Authorities chased Rowland on foot into a nearby church. Once inside the church, the suspect apparently shot and killed himself.

How do you protect your children from predators? Join Nancy Grace and a team of world class experts for the online course ‘Justice Nation: Crime Stops Here’.

Lauren McCluskey was a senior at the school, majoring in communications. She was also a standout on the track team. University of Utah classes have been canceled for Tuesday morning to allow time for mourning. Counseling services will remain open.

“As a campus community, we share grief over this tragic loss of life,” president of the school, Ruth K. Watkins stated. “Our deepest sympathy is extended to Lauren’s family and friends.”

A vigil for McCluskey has been scheduled for Wednesday at 5 p.m. on the steps of the Park Building on campus.

The story is still developing. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.

Join Nancy Grace for her new video series new online video series designed to help you protect what you love most – your children.

[Feature Photo: Lauren McCluskey/Handout]