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Salt Lake D.A. gets extension to file charges against suspect in Mackenzie Lueck's death

FILE - Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill talks about the investigation into Mackenzie Lueck's disappearance during a press conference at the Public Safety Building in Salt Lake City on Friday, June 28, 2019.
FILE - Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill talks about the investigation into Mackenzie Lueck's disappearance during a press conference at the Public Safety Building in Salt Lake City on Friday, June 28, 2019.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office has asked for more time before formally filing criminal charges against the man accused of kidnapping and killing Mackenzie Lueck.

Sim Gill asked a judge Tuesday to extend the time Ayoola Ajayi is held in jail while charges are pending until next week. By law, a person can only be held 72 hours in jail after being arrested before either criminal charges are filed, the person is released or a judge grants an extension.

Ajayi will be held without bail until formal charges are screened.

"There is the gathering of all of the information so we have as complete a screening packet as possible," Gill said of the reason for asking for an extension.

Ayoola Adisa Ajayi
Salt Lake County Jail

Ajayi, 31, was arrested Friday by a Salt Lake police SWAT team and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, desecration of a human body and obstruction of justice.

He is accused of killing Lueck, 23, after the two met at Hatch Park in North Salt Lake on June 17 shortly after she arrived in Utah on a plane after attending a family member's funeral in California.

Data collected from the cellphones of both Lueck and Ajayi puts them at Hatch Park at the same time early that morning, and the two had communicated with each other through texting the evening of June 16, according to police.

Investigators also said they recovered burned female human tissue in Ajayi's backyard. The DNA from that tissue matches Lueck's DNA. But police have not specifically said that they've recovered Lueck's body yet, and Salt Lake Police Chief Mike Brown declined to answer that question when asked last week.

On Monday, details of a prior rape investigation in Cache County involving Ajayi and a co-worker were revealed through a public records request. The woman in that case declined to press charges but still filed a report with police after the alleged incident "in case he did the same thing to someone else," the report states.

On Tuesday, it was revealed that Ajayi, who attended Utah State University "on and off" starting in 2009 but never graduated, according to school officials, was actually banned from the campus in 2012.

Ajayi was arrested for investigation of stealing an iPad, according to newly released campus documents. When questioned by campus police, Ajayi claimed the iPad was his.

"Later as I was reviewing the iPad, I was able to see that (Ajayi) was not being truthful with me. I could see that he was a member of a gaming team with players around the United States and Canada," USU police wrote in a report. "Ajayi also said he was married to a girl in Texas and that he was trying to get into school. On the iPad I found websites that put his status as single. He was also trying to put a female as a prospect to marry to keep from being deported."

The Daily Mail in the United Kingdom recently spoke with Ajayi's estranged wife, Tenisha Jenkins Ajayi, who still lives in Texas. She claimed he once slashed her with a knife, leaving her with a scar, and that she would testify against him in Utah if asked to do so.

The mother of four told the tabloid that she is still legally married to him, but they have not seen each another for years after she went into hiding and changed her cellphone because of his alleged violent outbursts.

After his USU arrest, Ajayi was issued a letter banning him from campus, and told that if he needed to be on campus "you must first contact the Utah State University Police Department and have them escort you on and off campus," the letter from the university states.

Outside of a few traffic tickets, however, Ajayi does not have a significant criminal history in Utah. He at one time lived in an apartment across the street from Hatch Park, where Lueck was last seen. Ajayi and his two roommates were evicted from the North Salt Lake apartment in 2016 for failing to pay rent, according to court records.