A University of Utah student’s death sparked a manhunt around the University of Utah on Tuesday, October 22, 2018.
Lauren McCluskey was found dead in her car around 9 p.m on October 21, 2018. Authorities cited the cause of death to be a gun-inflicted wound.
Before her death, she was on the phone with her mother Jill McCluskey, where the latter heard her cry out in defense.
“That was the last I heard from her,” she said to NBC. “My husband called 911. 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.”
It was discovered that McCluskey had recently severed ties with her ex-boyfriend Melvin Rowland, 37, who was caught lying about his personal information and his criminal past. Police issued a manhunt for Rowland after the call and the next day, his body was found inside a church in Salt Lake City. Authorities ruled it as suicide.
Before this, Lauren McCluskey had blocked his number and sought help from campus police twice with complaints of harassments from Rowland.
University Police Chief Dale Brophy cited that her complaints were under investigation at the time of her death and that Rowland was actually a registered sex offender. Rowland was released from prison in 2013.
University of Utah president Ruth Watkins offered her condolences.
“As a campus community, we share grief over this tragic loss of life. Our deepest sympathy is extended to Lauren’s family and friends.” Watkins said. “Several members of our university administration spoke with Lauren’s family last night and I have also reached out to them. Her family is understandably in shock at this news about their daughter. They are heartbroken.”
Who Is Lauren McCluskey?
Lauren McCluskey is a senior who was majoring in communication and a member of the college’s track and field team. She was originally from Pullman, Washington, but chose to attend the University of Utah to further her education.