Disturbing new details have emerged about the murder of Lauren McCluskey, the University of Utah student who was killed earlier this month by a man whom she had stopped dating after catching him in a web of lies, Rolling Stone reports.
Authorities believe Melvin Rowland shot McCluskey to death in a car on the evening of Oct. 22 after attacking her as she walked home from class.
University police have now disclosed that after the killing, Rowland met up with a woman he met on a dating site.
The woman picked up Rowland on campus, thinking he had just worked out at the gym. The two reportedly had dinner, toured the state Capitol and returned to the woman’s residence where Rowland showered. The female later brought Rowland to a coffee shop.
Shortly thereafter, the woman discovered that Rowland was wanted in connection with McCluskey’s murder and she notified police.
Authorities later identified Rowland and followed him to a church, where he shot and killed himself with the same gun he used to murder McCluskey.
Investigators say Rowland asked a friend to borrow the gun, telling the friend that he was going to teach his girlfriend how to use it.
Neither the friend nor the woman with whom Rowland interacted on the night of McCluskey’s murder will face charges because both had been “duped,” University of Utah Police Chief Dale Brony said.
“Rowland was a manipulator. If his lips were moving, he was lying,” Brophy said. “I don’t think he told the truth to anybody based on our investigation.”
McCluskey, 21, met Rowland, 37, in September at a bar where he was working as a bouncer. The pair began dating, but McCluskey ended the relationship in early October after learning that Rowland had lied about his name and age and that he was a registered sex offender.
McCluskey had notified university police that Rowland and people associated with him were sending her harassing text messages. McCluskey also alleged that she was being extorted after receiving a message that threatened intimate photos of the two would be posted online if she did not pay $1,000. She wired the money.
CBS News reports that outside investigators are evaluating how University of Utah police handled McCluskey’s complaints and whether campus security protocols need to be changed.
University President Ruth Watkins has said thus far she does not believe police acted improperly.
The state’s Department of Corrections also has launched an independent investigation in light of the fact that Rowland was on parole at the time of the harassment and killing.
“Clearly in hindsight, we’re going to say, ‘You should have done this, you should have done that,’” Utah Governor Gary Herbert said at news conference.
He added: “You never know when these things are going to occur.”
[Feature Photo: Lauren McCluskey/University of Utah]