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Questions raised about dating apps as search continues for missing Utah student

By Pat Reavy, KSL | Posted - Jun 26th, 2019 @ 6:48pm

SALT LAKE CITY — As the search for a missing University of Utah student continues, questions are being raised about whether her social media and dating accounts might lead to a break in the case.

And on Wednesday, Salt Lake City police confirmed that Mackenzie "Kenzie" Lueck sent a text to someone while she was at the airport and detectives have been in contact with that person.

Detective Michael Ruff declined to say, however, whether that person was man or woman, but said that person was not considered a suspect.

Previously, police had stated that Lueck texted her parents at 2 a.m. on June 17 when she arrived at the airport. Ruff said Wednesday that the new person police had talked to, whom she texted, was not her parents, but declined to give more details.

Lueck, 23, was last seen nine days ago. She flew into Salt Lake City International Airport early on the morning of June 17 after attending a family funeral in her hometown of El Segundo, California. Surveillance video at the airport recorded Lueck making her way to baggage claim, and then getting into a Lyft vehicle.

The Lyft driver told police he dropped off Lueck at Hatch Park in North Salt Lake about 3 a.m. where another person in a car was waiting for her. As of Wednesday, Salt Lake police have not been able to identify that person or even the make and model of that car.

During a press conference Tuesday, police were asked about a dating app that purports to show a profile with Lueck's likeness, allegedly with activity on it from that morning. Assistant Chief Tim Doubt would only say that all her social media accounts are being investigated.

Doubt was also asked about reports from friends that Lueck was dating several men who are older.

"We're aware of that, and we're following up on all those leads," Doubt said, while declining to say whether any of those people had been interviewed.

A locally produced podcast titled “Zion's Lost,” which focuses on missing people and cold case investigations in Utah, stated on their show this week that their own private investigator had verified Lueck has a profile on the website Seeking Arrangements, which promotes itself as "the world's largest network for sugar daddy and sugar baby relationships."

What appears to be a picture of Lueck is posted on the website under one of the profiles.

Lueck's disappearance and word that she may have been on at least one "sugar daddy" website has sparked discussion by others on social media.

Screenshots of messages posted by "Kenzie Lueck" in a private Facebook group were shared by others on Tuesday. In one message, she gives advice on how to use sugar daddy websites and talks about her own experience. The messages appeared to have been originally posted about two months ago.

"Mine says 'I want a SD/SB relationship with a real connection.' If don't know what a SD/SB is, tell them bluntly sugar daddy and sugar baby. But if they don't know, they aren't really worth your time," the post states. "Private message me, if you have more questions! I have experience."

That was followed by another message that stated, "I have some experience on seeking arrangements, online only, Tinder, and currently have two lol."

In conversations this week in a Facebook group discussing Lueck's disappearance, a man claimed that he had met Lueck on Tinder and that she was "looking for that type of relationship." The man went on to say the Lueck had mentioned she "wanted" to be a sugar baby and that "she needed money."

Salt Lake police on Wednesday remained tight-lipped about the dating apps, and would not confirm whether they believe the profiles were created by Lueck or if detectives had tracked down and interviewed any of the men she allegedly dated.

Julia Giddens and Janet Nelson, the women who host the “Zion's Lost” podcast, stated on their program that they were sharing the information in an effort to get answers on her whereabouts.

"She is an adult and she has the right to do what she wants," Giddens said. "We are giving this information because we want to ask anyone with information to come forward, as we highly suspect that the person she met that night was a man that she was in a SD/SB relationship with. Mackenzie is an adult and she has the right to do what she wants. That is her business and her business alone. We are not sharing this information to be salacious."

Contributing: McKenzie Romero, Andrew Adams

Correction: The "Zion's Lost" podcast used a private investigator to look at Lueck's online activity. A previous version incorrectly stated the family had hired the investigator.

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