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Police encourage public to come forward in case of missing 23-year-old Mackenzie Lueck

In this surveillance image from Salt Lake International Airport, Mackenzie Lueck is seen collecting her luggage and leaving the terminal. Police are hoping neighbors near Hatch Park in North Salt Lake may also have surveillance footage to help them retrace Lueck's steps. Photo: Salt Lake City Police

SALT LAKE CITY — Police are asking anyone who might have information that will help them find a missing 23-year-old woman to please come forward, eight days after Mackenzie Lueck vanished.

Tuesday, Salt Lake Assistant Police Chief Tim Doubt released new photos of Lueck, the last known images of her to be taken. The surveillance images show the young woman picking up her luggage and leaving Salt Lake International Airport.

Investigators checked cameras at Hatch Park in North Salt Lake, the location police say a Lyft driver dropped Lueck off around 3 a.m. on the morning of June 17. However, Doubt said the cameras at the park were not in operation that night.

missing woman mackenzie lueck

This undated missing persons poster provided by the Salt Lake City Police shows Mackenzie Lueck, 23, a senior at the University of Utah, who was last seen more than a week ago. (Salt Lake City Police via AP)

That driver told police Lueck met someone else at Hatch Park, and they left in another vehicle. Tuesday, Doubt said they were unable to get a better description of that vehicle or even say with certainty whether the person Lueck met was male or female.

 

Lueck, a senior at the University of Utah, is from El Segundo, California. Police say she had traveled out of state for a family funeral, and was returning home from that trip when she disappeared.

Doubt addressed the possibility that Lueck may have left willingly by saying police do not suspect foul play. Speaking directly to Lueck, he said if she didn’t want to be found, investigators would respect that — they just want to make sure she’s okay.  There are cases when missing people want to disappear, however, Doubt says that’s looking less likely in this case.

“After discussion with her family and friends, we so no indication that she has gone off the grid before.  This kind of behavior is uncharacteristic for her, according to them,” he says.

Lueck has only had three interactions with the Salt Lake City Police Department.  One was a traffic ticket, and Doubt describes the other two as, “An assault a year ago and found property six months ago.  There is no indication that any of these interactions are connected with her disappearance and all of those cases are resolved.”

On Dave & Dujanovic, retired Unified Police Deputy Chief Chris Bertram said there may be other reasons police are not saying much.

“There were things that we didn’t want to put out there because we wanted to see if we could corroborate it through other people,” Bertram said of similar cases he’s worked in the past. “If we put that information out, someone may just repeat it to us. We want to make sure if we are going to knock on someone’s door, they don’t see us coming.”

missing woman mackenzie lueck

This undated photo taken from the Facebook page #FindMackenzieLueck shows a Mackenzie Lueck, 23, a senior at the University of Utah, who was last seen more than a week ago. (#FindMackenzieLueck via AP)

Bertram says investigators likely didn’t get much time off over the weekend.

“Pushing those people, the Lyft driver, other people, her friends and associates — [crossing them] off the list. When something bad happens and there is a crime, [it’s typical to] look closely to the victim and then start moving out from there,” Bertram said.

In spite of Salt Lake City police saying they do not suspect foul play, Bertram said he found it suspicious that police have not yet heard from the person who picked Lueck up at the park in North Salt Lake. He said home surveillance cameras in the neighborhood around the park would be critical as police continue to chase leads.

Indeed, at Tuesday’s news conference, Assistant Chief Tim Doubt urged people who might have those types of images available to contact police, in case it may help.

Doubt said police have checked out every single tip called into the tip line set up to handle the case — more than 125 to date. The tip line will remain in operation at 801-799-4420.