Lauren McCluskey

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.

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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.

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[Feature Photo: Lauren McCluskey/Handout]