Mackenzie Lueck's body was found Wednesday in a canyon outside of Salt Lake City, police said Friday.
Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown told reporters at a news conference that her remains were located in Logan Canyon, nearly 100 miles north of the city. He said he informed the family of the discovery Friday morning in what he called a "devastating call."
"Despite their grief, we hope this will help them find some closure," Brown said.
Charred human female tissue that matched Lueck's DNA had previously been discovered in murder suspect Ayoola Ajayi's backyard last week, according to police.
Neighbors reported they saw Ajayi burning something in his backyard with gasoline on June 17 and 18, police said. An investigation of the property found an area that had been freshly dug — the same area that neighbors reported seeing the fire.
Authorities also found several other charred items that they say were consistent with Lueck's personal items.
Officials said last week that Ajayi faces charges of aggravated murder, kidnapping and desecration of a body in Lueck's death. Formal charges have not yet been filed. Prosecutors have until to Wednesday to do so after seeking an extension. Ajayi is currently being held without bail.
Lueck, 23, had been missing since June 17. Her parents last heard from her when she texted them around 2 a.m. that morning and informed them she had made it safely back to Salt Lake City on a flight.
The University of Utah student then grabbed a Lyft, which she took to meet a man near Hatch Park. She did not look distressed when she got into the man’s car around 3 a.m., the driver told police. That man, police said, was Ajayi.
She was never seen again.