A University of Utah student was on the phone with her mother right before she was shot to death outside her dorm by a former boyfriend who lied to her about his criminal past as a sex offender, among other things, the victim's mother revealed.
Melvin Rowland, 37, shot Lauren McCluskey, 21, whose body was found in a car right outside a dormitory on campus just before 10 p.m. Monday, police said. Rowland was found dead inside a Salt Lake City church hours later .
In a statement released on Twitter on Tuesday, Jill McCluskey, Lauren's mother, wrote that her daughter dated Rowland for about a month. However, the college student broke off the relationship earlier this month after a friend revealed Rowland's criminal history. Rowland was a registered sex offender, having been convicted of attempted forcible sexual abuse and enticing a minor in 2004, according to the Utah Department of Corrections sex offender registry.
"He lied to her about his name, his age, and his criminal history," Jill McCluskey said in her statement.
The grieving mother also revealed that Lauren McCluskey complained to police about Rowland’s behavior after their break-up. Rowland borrowed her daughter's car, just one day after they split, and she asked police for help getting it back, according to the mother.
"She blocked his and his friends' phone numbers and complained to University of Utah police that she was being harassed," she said.
The mother said she was on the phone with her daughter when she was attacked in her parked car.
"Suddenly, I heard her yell, 'No, no, no!' I thought she might have been in a car accident. That was the last I heard from her," she wrote, adding that her husband called 911. Meanwhile, Jill McCluskey didn’t hang up on her daughter's phone call.
"In a few minutes, a young woman picked up the phone and said all of Lauren's things were on the ground," she wrote.
University of Utah President Ruth V. Watkins described the slain student as “a highly regarded member of the university’s track and field team and an outstanding scholar, a senior majoring in communication.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
[Photos: Facebook, Salt Lake City County]
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