SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah)- It was a little after 9 p.m. Monday, October 22nd. 21-year-old Lauren McCluskey, a student at the University of Utah, was on the phone with her mom as she was returning to her apartment after a night class.
“Suddenly, I heard her yell, ‘No, no no!’,” Lauren’s mother Jill told News4Utah. “I thought she might have been in a car accident,” she stated.
Jill said her husband called 911 immediately.
“I kept the line open and in a few minutes, a young woman picked up the phone and said all of Lauren’s things were on the ground,” she said.
Soon after, Lauren was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds inside of her car parked outside of the south tower of the Medical Plaza on campus.
In a statement released by Lauren’s mom, they identified their daughter as the victim.
“It is with deepest sadness that we let you know that our daughter Lauren McCluskey, age 21, was the University of Utah student who was killed last night,” said the statement.
Jill said her daughter Lauren had previously dated the man who killed for about one month.
“He lied to her about his name, his age, and his criminal history,” said Jill. “Lauren was informed by a friend about his criminal history, and she ended the relationship with her killer on October 9, 2018.”
Jill said Lauren had previously let the suspect borrow her car, and she requested for the University of Utah police accompany her on October 10, 2018 to get the car back.
“She blocked his and his friends’ phone numbers and complained to University of Utah police that she was being harassed,” said Jill “Last night a little before 9 pm, she was returning to her university apartment from her night class and talking to me on the phone.”
Jill said Lauren was a senior student athlete on the University of Utah track team, an outstanding student with a 3.75 GPA majoring in Communication and was excited to graduate in May 2019. She was a 2015 honors graduate of Pullman High School where she was Washington state champion in the high jump and the school record holder in the 100 meter hurdles.
We are absolutely devastated about the loss of one of our own. Lauren McCluskey, we will miss you more than anyone could ever imagine. Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family through this difficult time. #utefamily pic.twitter.com/Ts6KSB2kUM— Utah T&F/XC (@Utah_trackfield) October 23, 2018
“She attended Capital Church in Salt Lake City,” said Jill. “She loved to sing and had strength and determination. She was dearly loved and will be greatly missed.”
Family and friends have set up a GoFundMe fundraiser. If you’d like to donate click here.
A vigil has been planned in her McCluskey’s honor on Wednesday at 5 p.m. on the steps of the John R. Park building located at 201 Presidents Circle.
The suspect was shortly identified and found Tuesday morning dead inside of a local church.