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Crime News Breaking News

Police Search Home Connected To Missing University Of Utah Student Who Vanished After Returning From Grandma's Funeral

Investigators were seen gathering evidence, towing a gray sedan from the home and carrying shovels into the backyard Wednesday night as the search for Mackenzie Lueck continues.

By Jill Sederstrom

Salt Lake City Police were seen towing a car and hauling away bags of evidence at a home believed to be connected to missing University of Utah college student Mackenzie Lueck Wednesday as the search continues for the 23-year-old.

Authorities arrived at the home around 2 p.m. Wednesday parking a large “Mobile Command Center” outside the home and working through the night searching for potential evidence, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

“Obviously we are treating this with a high degree of care,” Assistant Police Chief Tim Doubt told reporters just after 10 p.m. “Given the nature of this case, we just don’t want to make a mistake.”

Doubt declined to say whether anyone had been arrested in the disappearance but told the media that there was a “nexus” between the home and Lueck’s disappearance more than week ago.

MacKenzie Lueck

Lueck mysteriously vanished in the early morning hours June 17 after arriving at the Salt Lake City International airport and then taking a Lyft to a North Salt Lake park, where she was seen getting into the vehicle of an unknown individual. She had just returned home from attending her grandmother's funeral.

Authorities towed a gray Kia sedan from the home where they issued the search warrant at about 7 p.m. Wednesday night, local station KSTU reports.

Police were also seen carrying shovels into the backyard of the home around midnight.

Neighbors told the local paper that they had recently seen the owner of the home—who also rented out a portion of the home on Airbnb—burning something in his backyard.

John Williamson of Texas had rented the home for Wednesday night, but when he arrived, he was surprised to find the heavy police presence.

“It’s wild,” he said. “Just wild.”

In an interview on Fox News, Doubt said that authorities had also been able to analyze Lueck’s digital footprint and were aware that she had been texting someone while she was at the airport.

Police have spoken with that individual, who is said to be cooperating with authorities. Doubt declined to describe the person as a person of interest at this time.

“Everybody is pretty much still in the game,” he said. “We don't want to rule out anybody because we haven't really found any evidence that anything really happened to her, foul play-wise. It’s just very concerning that she's missing for this long and she just completely dropped off the grid.”

Although authorities know Lueck had been communicating with the individual shortly before she disappeared, Doubt said they haven’t been able to find any evidence to indicate who she had been meeting at the park.

“We know that she was texting someone at the airport and we’re trying to follow up on that right now but with these apps nowadays that you can secure down, that are secret and you can have different identities, it's just really hard to track,” he said.

Investigators plan to continue to dig into the missing student’s digital life as the investigation continues. Some of Lueck’s friends have suggested she may have been on dating apps and had been interested in dating older men.

“We have quite a few leads that we’re following up on,” Doubt said in the interview. “This isn’t the normal, typical missing person with bloodhounds. This is more of a digital search for a person.”

Mackenzie Lueck

On Tuesday, investigators released some of the last known footage of Lueck at the airport around 2 a.m. the morning she disappeared, wearing a white hooded sweater or sweatshirt and black pants. She was carrying a small black backpack on her back and a brown suitcase.

Authorities are asking anyone with information about the disappearance to contact police.