The man accused of killing missing University of Utah college student Mackenzie Lueck wanted to build a secret, soundproof room, accessible by a fingerprint lock, according to one contractor asked to carry out the job.
Contractor Brian Wolf told CBS News that suspect Ayoola Ajayi, 31, had also requested hooks be installed along the concrete walls of the secret room he was planning.
“He was adamant about getting it done really fast and money was no object,” Wolf said.
Wolf turned down the job after realizing the requests “weren’t normal,” he told local Utah station KTVX.
“Honestly, I don’t know what he wanted it for—but my gut was something not normal,” he said.
Ajayi had reportedly requested a secret room about the size of a walk-in closet that would be accessible by using a thumbprint lock. He claimed the hooks were going to be used for a wine rack, according to KSTU. Wolf told Ajayi that he wanted to build the room to hide his alcohol from his Mormon girlfriend.
“She didn’t know he drank, so he wanted to hide the alcohol from her, and I was like, ‘Well, why do you need it to be soundproof?’” Wolf said.
After police announced Ajayi’s arrest on Friday in connection with Lueck’s killing, Wolf said he immediately recognized the man as the person he had met.
“One hundred percent, that man that they arrested is the man I met … guaranteed,” Wolf told KSTU. “I’m shaken right now. My heart is pounding. I’m almost about to cry. It’s scary. I feel sorry for that girl.”
Ajayi has been charged with aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, obstruction of justice and desecration of a body after investigators searched his Salt Lake City home.
Salt Lake Police Chief Mike Brown said investigators made the arrest after discovering charred tissue at the property consistent with samples found on items belonging to Lueck.
The University of Utah senior was last seen alive in the early morning hours of June 17. She flew into the Salt Lake City International Airport—arriving around 2 a.m.—after attending her grandmother’s funeral and then reportedly took a Lyft to a North Salt Lake park where she got into another vehicle.
Investigators now say that both Lueck and Ajayi’s cell phones place them at the park early that morning at the same time, CBS News reports.
During an interview with police, Ajayi also admitted to texting with Lueck on June 16 around 6 a.m., but claims that they never texted again after that exchange.
In an interview with The Daily Mail, Ajayi’s estranged wife claims that although she and the former Army IT specialist are still legally married, they haven’t seen each other in years. She said she had to go into hiding after repeated threats of violence when she refused to move with him to Utah.
'AJ told me he was going back to his hometown in Utah and I didn't want to go with him. That made him angry but I have kids, I couldn't just leave Dallas,' Tenisha Jenkins Ajayi said.
She said her husband became increasingly angry and threatened to kill her if she didn’t go with him. The last time she saw him was at a friend’s house in Dallas when he tried to grab her, she told the news organization.
“He tried to tie me up with a phone chord. When I went to run he blocked the door. I ended up jumping through a window and cutting my arm on the glass,” she said.
But Ajayi allegedly chased her into the street with a kitchen knife and cut her arm, she said.
She never went to police, but did change apartments in an effort to hide from her husband.
“I kept telling him I don’t want to be with you, I want a divorce,” she said. “He wouldn’t sign the papers.”
Tenisha Jenkins Ajayi now believes that if her husband did commit the crime he has been accused of he needs to be behind bars.
“If he took an innocent child he needs to spend his life in jail,” she said.
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