Lauren McCluskey Dead: What Happened — DETAILS

A University of Utah student’s death sparked a manhunt around the University of Utah on Tuesday, October 22, 2018.

What Happened?

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.

ATTEMPT TO LOCATE: #homicide suspect Melvin Rowland, 37. Suspect wanted in conjunction with shooting on university campus. pic.twitter.com/BLcEC5ayHp

— Univ of Utah News (@UofUNews) October 23, 2018

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.

It is with great sadness that I issue this statement about the death of one of our students last night: https://t.co/FhKFI7PTIZ

— Ruth V. Watkins (@RuthVWatkins) October 23, 2018

“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?

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Lauren McCluskey — a 2017 honorable mention Pac-12 All-Academic — had been dating a man named Melvin Rowland for about a month … until Oct. 9, when she found out he was a registered sex offender. A 21-year-old University of Utah track star was abducted and shot to death on campus late Monday night — and her parents believe it was all because she discovered a horrible secret about the killer. Lauren's parents say while the two were dating, Rowland had lied to her about his name, his age and his criminal history, which included a 2004 conviction for attempted forcible sex abuse and enticing a minor over the internet. Fast forward to Monday night at 8 PM when Lauren was talking with her mother on the phone while leaving campus … and she was abducted in a school parking lot. "Suddenly, I heard her yell, "No, no, no!," Lauren's mother says … "I thought she might have been in a car accident. That was the last I heard from her. My husband called 911." Lauren was found shot to death in her car. Witnesses report hearing several gunshots. Cops launched an all-out manhunt for the suspect and tracked him down outside of a church in Salt Lake City. Cops say Rowland forced his way inside the building early Tuesday morning and shot himself to death. School president Ruth V. Watkins announced all classes Tuesday have been canceled and an on-campus vigil is being set for Wednesday evening. "As a campus community, we share grief over this tragic loss of life," Watkins wrote … "Our deepest sympathy is extended to Lauren’s family and friends." RIP. So sad 🙏

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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.

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