Mackenzie Lueck

‘There were always so many women’: What we know about the person of interest in University of Utah student’s disappearance

Story contributed by Kim Leigh Martin, Co-founder and President of 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Missing Pieces Network.

During a press briefing on the Mackenzie Lueck case Thursday morning, Salt Lake Police Chief Mike Brown announced that no arrest had yet been made in the University of Utah student’s disappearance, although the owner of a Salt Lake City home is said to be of interest.

The owner of the property has been named a person of interest in the case, but Brown declined to give his name at this time. The announcement came after investigators spent roughly 19 hours searching the man’s home and property before wrapping it up in the early morning hours.

Video posted by overnight by KSL shows a portion of the backyard covered by a large tent and brightly lit with floodlights as investigators used shovels to dig for evidence.

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As CrimeOnline previously reported, several neighbors complained last week about a large bonfire in the backyard of the property.

“It definitely assaulted your nose,”Joseph Peterson, who lives one block west of the home, told the Salt Lake Tribune, describing how he got home one night from work only to smell a “strong stench” in the air.

Online court and property records identify the man as being 31, divorced this year, with only minor traffic citations on his record. Authorities said the man rents out rooms in the basement of his home on Airbnb.

A neighbor told Fox News on Thursday that “many women” frequent the home.

“There were always so many women coming in and out at all hours of the night,” the neighbor, who did not want to be identified, told the outlet. “Sometimes they’d [the women would] knock on my door because they were looking for the address since he has an Airbnb,”

The neighbor added that that the “person of interest” did not interact with the neighbors and “very much kept to himself.”

When questioned as to what led police to the residence, Chief Brown replied, “We’re not confirming what led us to that other than good detective work and the forensic digital footprint that we’re following.”

“This is a digital forensic investigation. This is covering computers, cellphones, IP addresses, URLs, texting apps.”

As CrimeOnline previously reported, various calls were made to to tip line by people who saw listings on online marketplace apps made by the homeowner.

Brown told reporters that he had spoken several times with Mackenzie’s father, Greg Lueck, and felt “the heartache and the pain and the suffering in his voice as we spoke.”

“And my commitment to Greg was we would do everything within our power, the Salt Lake City Police Department, to bring Mackenzie home.”

A dedicated tip line has been set up by SLCPD for Mackenzie. Anyone with information is urged to call 801-799-4420 and reference case 19-11129.

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[Feature Photo: Mackenzie Lueck/Handout]