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Girl vanishes on trip home to see family

University student Mackenzie Lueck had been on a visit back to her hometown to see family, but it was under sad circumstances.

Mackenzie, 23, had travelled the 700 miles to El Segundo, California, so she could attend her grandmother’s funeral and was now on a flight back to Salt Lake City, Utah, where she attended university.

She was a popular student at the University of Utah, where she was studying pre-nursing and kinesiology, the science of human body movement.

It wasn’t surprising that she was following a future in caring for others, as Mackenzie was nurturing and compassionate. She was sporty, too – playing water polo at high school and competing on the swim team. With three brothers, spirited Mackenzie held her own.

Mackenzie landed at Salt Lake City Airport in the early hours of 17 June, 2019. She sent a message to her mum that read, “Landed. Love you Mama.”

Then she headed for a taxi. Surveillance footage recorded her walking out to the exit. The plan was for Mackenzie to head back to her house but instead, she took a taxi to Hatch Park, in North Salt Lake, which was about 13 miles away.

The driver left her at the park at 3am. Then Mackenzie disappeared.

The next day, Mackenzie’s parents started to worry that their daughter’s phone was going straight to voicemail.

Any iMessages sent to her phone were green instead of blue – suggesting the phone wasn’t on or was out of service.

On 22 June, Mackenzie’s parents reported her missing and a search began. The last person to see Mackenzie was the taxi driver, but he was quickly eliminated as he’d picked someone up after dropping the student off.

dm