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New charges filed against suspect in murder of U. student, Mackenzie Lueck

This booking photo provided by the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office shows Ayoola A. Ajayi. Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said, Friday, June 28, 2019, that Ajayi was being charged with aggravated murder, kidnapping and desecration of a body in the death of 23-year-old Mackenzie Lueck. (Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY — New charges filed Tuesday against a man accused of kidnapping and murdering University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck suggest a previous victim was able to escape.

Ayoola Ajayi is the owner of a home where Salt Lake City police uncovered evidence in the disappearance and murder of Lueck in June. In July, he was charged with her murder and kidnapping.

In the new charges, police say Ajayi is accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting another woman in March of 2018. According to the charging documents, police write that the woman said she met Ajayi on a dating app and accepted an invitation to have dinner at his home when he assaulted her.

Charging documents say the pair started kissing on the couch, but, Ajayi began to touch her in a way she didn’t want.  When she tried to make him stop, charging documents say he pinned her against her will, then started to “intensely” kiss her, and ripped a part of her shirt off.  After that, he reportedly bit her three times, leaving bite marks and bruises on her body.

“This is a matter that we take very seriously.  We will continue to pursue every lead and every inquiry wherever it may lead us.  We will exhaust whatever we need to do to do our job,” says Salt Lake County DA Sim Gill.

When Gill was asked whether Ajayi has more victims, he could not confirm either yes or no.  However, he says anyone who feels they’ve been victimized should come forward.

“I urge them to contact their local law enforcement agency.  No victim should ever feel alone,” Gill says.

Investigators recovered Lueck’s body 80 miles from where she was last seen in Logan Canyon 18 days after her initial disappearance. During a news conference at the time, Gill said phone records placed Ajayi both at the North Salt Lake park where Lueck was last seen, at the time she was last seen there, and in Logan Canyon on June 25.

After the initial charges came out, prosecutors also filed charges of child pornography naming Ajayi.  Gill says the latest charges will likely not be lumped into one massive court proceeding against Ajayi.  Instead, they’ll try them separately.

“These are three very separate [cases] that we’re going to be pursuing independently, as necessary,” he says.