Advocates Condemn ‘Victim Blaming’ in Utah Student Death

Print More

Since the day Mackenzie Lueck disappeared, her friends have advocated on behalf of the 23-year-old University of Utah student to police and the public. When Lueck left the Salt Lake City airport in the early morning of June 17 and went dark, her friends said the silence was out of character. Now, after police said they found Lueck’s DNA in a backyard fire pit and arrested a suspect on murder charges, her friends are criticizing people who blamed their friend for her own death, the Washington Post reports. “Her death is not her fault,” Katie Kvam told Fox News. “And for people to say things other than that is hurtful … to other victims out there. It just doesn’t make sense.”

Salt Lake City police charged Ayoola Ajayi, 31, with aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, obstruction of justice and desecration of a body. Ayayi’s neighbors had told police they saw him burning something in his backyard after Lueck disappeared. Authorities found items belonging to Lueck and “human tissue” that matched her DNA. After returning from her grandmother’s funeral in California, Lueck left the airport in a Lyft vehicle for a park. Her last communication was with Ajayi. Critics have used online platforms to mock Lueck’s disappearance or blame her for what happened. A now-fired writer from Barstool Sports wrote a crude post that focused on Lueck’s reported use of dating apps. Commentary and speculation like that led the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition to say that “victim blaming and shaming is inappropriate and unacceptable. In addition to perpetuating myths about abuse, assault, and violence, victim blaming wrongly excuses the perpetrator’s behaviors.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *