Police identify person of interest in Lueck case; former prosecutor calls lack of evidence 'scary'

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SALT LAKE CITY — Officials searched the house Thursday where a search warrant was served in connection with the investigation of Mackenzie Lueck.

During a press conference Thursday morning, Salt Lake Police Chief Mike Brown said investigators have also identified the homeowner as a "person of interest" in the case, but declined to identify him.

Any possible connection the homeowner may have to Lueck's disappearance remains unknown.

Police served a search warrant at the Fairpark home shortly before 10 p.m. Wednesday. The scene was cleared shortly before 8:30 a.m. Thursday, according to KSL TV reporters at the scene.

Video footage from KSL Chopper 5 showed police digging holes in the backyard of the house located at 547 N. 1000 West. Police had not said if they've found anything as of Thursday morning.

Police recovered multiple items of evidence in the case, Brown said. He did not provide further details on the nature of the items found.

He also said his investigators were made aware of a mattress and box spring that were given away from the home. Brown asked anyone who received those items to contact Salt Lake police at 801-799-3000.

No arrests had been made in the case as of Thursday morning, according to Brown. He said the case remains a missing person investigation.

Lueck, 23, went missing June 17 after arriving at the Salt Lake International Airport. She took a Lyft ride to a North Salt Lake park, where she was dropped off about 3 a.m.

She met up with someone in a vehicle there, and has not been heard from since.

The owner of the home rents out part of it on Airbnb, according to the company's website. He does not have any criminal history in Utah. KSL.com is not identifying him at this time as police have not confirmed if he's connected to Lueck's disappearance.

It's not clear what connection Lueck may have had to the home where police served the warrant

On Wednesday night, Salt Lake Police Assistant Chief Tim Doubt released few details about the home but said more information would be released about what was found in the home. "Given the nature of this case, we just don't want to make any mistakes," he said.

Doubt did not say if any of Lueck's DNA was found at the scene. He added that police would continue to follow leads on the case until it is resolved.

A former prosecutor noted detectives don’t start digging unless they have intel there is something to look for.

"People who are digging up a crime scene ... have some information that something is underground," said Kent Morgan, former Salt Lake County prosecutor.

He added there’s a risk police may never know what happened to Lueck.

“In this case ... the lack of evidence is scary," Morgan said. And if detectives don’t find more evidence, he said “then this is a case that will go off into the sunset like many missing persons cases.”

Police have also been investigating Lueck’s activity online and in social media for any clues as to where she might have gone.

SeekingArrangement.com spokeswoman Kimberly De La Cruz told KSL TV the company is aware of reports that Lueck was on their website, but did not confirm that Lueck had an account. The site facilitates relationships between sugar babies and sugar daddies or mommas and allows users to build the relationships on their own terms, according to the site.

De La Cruz said company employees "go above and beyond to keep (SeekingArrangement) members safe by investigating all reports of members who violate our terms of use." She added that the company has no way to monitor activity if a conversation between members moves off the site, but said that the company will always cooperate with law enforcement if the need arises.

In Utah, there are currently more than 25,000 sugar babies on SeekingArrangement, according to De La Cruz. There are 5,565 sugar daddies and 911 sugar mommas, she said.

Lueck's public Instagram account started following an account called "Fatherless" on Wednesday, according to KSL TV reporter Ashley Moser. It's not clear if the activity on the account comes from Lueck herself, or if another person is logged in to her account.

In a statement released Thursday, the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition urged people who are concerned about the details surrounding Lueck's disappearance not to resort to victim blaming.

"While we do not know the details of Mackenzie’s disappearance, we do know that victim blaming and shaming is inappropriate and unacceptable," the coalition said. "Our focus should solely be on the safety and well-being of Mackenzie Lueck."


Contributing: Tracie Snowder, KSL.com; Derek Petersen, Sean Estes, Mark Stevens, Andrew Adams, KSL TV

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story said Lueck had an account on SeekingArrangement.com. A spokeswoman said the company was aware of reports she was using the site, but did not confirm that she had an account. This story has been updated to clarify that information.

Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown gave an update on the case Thursday morning. Watch the press conference below.


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