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Suspected killer of Utah student also facing child pornography charges

Hannah Fry, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES -- A man accused of killing a 23-year-old University of Utah student is facing additional charges this week after authorities say they found pornographic images of children on his computer.

Salt Lake City police seized 31-year-old Ayoola Ajayi's computer as they searched his home on June 26 in connection with the disappearance of Mackenzie Lueck but didn't begin analyzing its contents until early last month, Detective Nathan Wiley wrote in charging documents.

When detectives searched the computer, they found several images of children engaged in sex acts, Wiley wrote. The document describes 19 photos in detail, and authorities say they depict girls between the ages of 4 and 8.

Prosecutors on Tuesday charged Ajayi with 19 felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. Prosecutors say authorities are still investigating when the images were made and who made them.

Ajayi was charged last month with aggravated murder, desecration of a human body, aggravated kidnapping and obstruction of justice in connection with Lueck's slaying. Ajayi would be eligible for the death penalty if convicted of aggravated murder, but prosecutors have not decided whether they plan to pursue capital punishment.

Ajayi was arrested on suspicion of Lueck's death in June after authorities searched his house and found a human bone, charred human tissue that matched the woman's DNA and some of her personal items in a freshly dug area in the backyard, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said last month.

Investigators also found burned black fabric and buckles in an alley near his home that were taken into evidence, Gill said. Authorities, however, did not find Lueck's body until early July, when investigators say data from Ajayi's cellphone led them to a secluded area in Logan Canyon, roughly 80 miles from Salt Lake City.

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The woman's body was buried in a shallow grave in a heavily forested area. Her arms had been bound behind her back with a zip tie and a rope. Coroner's officials determined that she died of blunt force trauma to the left side of her head, Gill said.

Lueck, of El Segundo, was a pre-nursing student at the state's flagship university in Salt Lake City. She went missing June 17 after arriving at the Salt Lake City airport following her grandmother's funeral in Los Angeles.

Her disappearance, which was reported to police by her father on June 20, quickly gained national attention.

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