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Suspect in Mackenzie Lueck’s murder wrote novel where victim was burned alive

Local News

Police say DNA tests proved charred remains found in the suspect's backyard belong to Mackenzie

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – A University of Utah student missing 11 days was abducted and killed and her remains burned in the yard of a man now charged with her murder, police said.

Ayoola “AJ” Ajayi was charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated murder, and desecration of a human body in the death of 23-year-old Mackenzie Lueck.

Ajayi is the author of a book titled Forge Identity that contains elements eerily similar to the crimes for which he is accused. Forge Identity tells the story about a gruesome murder where the victim was burned alive.

Excerpts from the novel:

In an excerpt, the boy witnessed a man “with a tire around him on fire.  His body … started to turn into a hard-dried barbecued thing.”

Later, the boy is in shock.  (The man’s) skin had gone a terrible color. He saw his hair burning off as he screamed for help.”

The online sample of the novel includes this note: “This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are product of the author imagination or are used of fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.”

Police theorize Lueck was burned in Ajayi’s backyard.  She disappeared 11 days ago after arriving at Salt Lake’s airport.  Their cellphones revealed to police that Lueck and Ajayi were together at a North Salt Lake park at 3 a.m. Both her cellphone and Lueck went off the radar. 

Around June 16, a neighbor smelled smoke coming from Ajayi’s back yard.  It happened the following day too, according to police.  When police executed a search warrant to dig in Ajayi’s backyard they found evidence of human tissue.  Police said the DNA belonged to Lueck.

The online sample of the novel includes this note:

“This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are product of the author imagination or are used of fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.”

More disturbing details revealed

A local contractor, Brian Wolf,  told Fox News on Friday that Ajayi reached out to him in April and asked him to build a “soundproof” room there.

“He slowly added on other requests, like building a secret door and adding hooks to the wall,” Wolf said to Fox News, explaining how the individual asked him to come to the home and give him an estimate for the potential project.

Wolf added the person said he wanted construction done as soon as possible, “before his girlfriend got back into town.”

Neighbors are shocked

“That will probably haunt me for the rest of my life,” said Scot Barraclough who lives two houses from Ajayi.  “It’s something you can’t stop thinking about.  My heart’s breaking for her family.”

A neighbor who had befriended him felt betrayed by Ajayi’s Jekyll and Hyde personality.

“He was a private man and only saw him one way, said Tom Camomile who helped Ajayi landscape his yard. “(I) never realized something like this could be in the background.  And the man that I knew could be capable like this.  I was completely blindsided.” 

Ajayi remains in the Salt Lake County jail. Police claimed he was a flight risk and a danger to the community.  A judge agreed and denied bail.

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