Sunday, October 18, 2020

The Murder of Mackenzie Lueck

Mackenzie Lueck was tragically murdered at the age of 23 during the early morning hours of June 17th, 2019. 

Mackenzie was a student at the University of Utah, and she lived in Salt Lake City. She spent the final days of her life in her hometown of El Selgundo, California, as she was visiting family for a funeral. Mackenzie boarded a flight back to Utah on the evening of June 16th, which landed in Salt Lake during the early morning hours of the 17th. She texted her parents around 2am to let them know she had landed safely. After that final text, Mackenzie's family never heard from her again. 

Over the next few days, Mackenzie's family and friends began to notice that something was off. When her father tried to message her on the 18th, he noticed that the messages were going through as text messages rather than iMessages-even though they both had iPhones. Her friends began to worry when Mackenzie did not show up to her shift at Millbrook medical lab, nor did she show up for an exam she was scheduled to take. Knowing this was uncharacteristic of her, Mackenzie's worried parents contacted Utah officials to report her missing on June 20th, 2019.

Throughout the investigation, detectives learned that Mackenzie left the airport on the morning of her disappearance in a Lyft car. Surveillance cameras at the airport captured her exiting the building at 2:40am. 

Mackenzie leaving the Salt Lake airport on the morning of June 17th

Detectives questioned the Lyft driver, who told them that he dropped Mackenzie off at Hatch Park and observed her getting into another vehicle. Both Lyft records and cell phone pings confirmed that Mackenzie exited the Lyft at the park at 2:59am. Mackenzie's family and friends did not know why she asked the Lyft driver to take her to the park instead of taking her home, nor did they know about any plans for her to meet someone there. Detectives then worked to identify who she met up with at the park. 

Mackenzie's cell phone records revealed that she was messaging with another person while in her Lyft. In fact, Mackenzie's final text message was sent to this person at 2:58am--just one minute before she exited the Lyft at Hatch Park. Her phone was shut off shortly after 3:00am. Detectives later identified the person Mackenzie was messaging as 31 year-old man named Ayoola Ajayi. After learning that Ajayi was the last person to communicate with Mackenzie, detectives went to his house in Fairpark to question him. He initially denied knowing Mackenzie, but later admitted they had briefly messaged after meeting on a dating app. Both Ajayi and Mackenzie had a dating app called 'Seeking Arrangements' downloaded on their phone--which is an app designed for people seeking a 'sugar daddy/sugar baby' type relationship. 

On June 26th, 2019, authorities executed a search warrant at Ajayi's house. Several items were seized during the search. His backyard was thoroughly searched as well. Two days later, on June 28th, 2019, Ayoola Ajayi was arrested and charged with aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, desecration of a body and obstructing justice in relation to the Mackenzie Lueck case. It was then confirmed that detectives had found tissue/DNA belonging to Mackenzie at Ajayi's house. Additionally, it was revealed that on the morning of June 17th Ajayi's cell phone pinged off the same tower Mackenzie's phone pinged off of for the final time--and his ping occurred just a minute after hers. At that point, it became clear that Ajayi picked Mackenzie up at the park that morning. 

Once Ajayi was behind bars, investigators continued to comb through evidence and build their case. The evidence they gathered eventually revealed a harrowing story about what happened to Mackenzie.

Ayoola Ajayi

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Both cell phone records and DNA evidence proved that Mackenzie and Ajayi were together during the morning of June 17th. Ajayi's cell phone records also revealed other information that would be vital to the case. The records showed that on June 25th, 2019--very shortly after he was initially questioned by police--Ajayi traveled to Logan Canyon. On July 3rd, 2019, Mackenzie's body was found at said canyon. She was found with her arms bound behind her back with rope. It appeared her body had been burned, as well. An autopsy revealed that she had been beaten and strangled. Mackenzie's official cause of death was listed as blunt force trauma. 

After Mackenzie's body was found, it became clear that Ajayi had not buried her at Logan Canyon until June 25th--eight days after she was killed, and just one day after he was questioned by police. Evidence from Ajayi's backyard revealed that Mackenzie had previously been buried there. Additionally, Ajayi's neighbors told police that there was a "horrible smell" coming from Ajayi's backyard firepit on June 17th and 18th. 

Although it was clear that Ajayi was the person who murdered Mackenzie, investigators struggled to find a motive. He did not have a criminal record prior to this incident. However, he was investigated for a sexual assault case in 2014. The victim in this case was an adult woman, and she ultimately decided not to press charges. Additionally, Ajayi's ex-wife revealed that she had stopped speaking with him years earlier, as he made her fear for her life. Ayayi also reportedly self-published numerous books to Amazon that depicted violence and murder. The books have since been removed. 

In October 2020, over a year after Mackenzie's murder, Ayayi pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and desecration of a human body. During the court proceeding, the prosecutor stated that Mackenzie and Ayayi met on the dating app at some point in 2018. The two finally decided to meet in person during June 2019. Unbeknownst to Mackenzie, Ayayi had already planned to murder her before they had even met. After picking her up at the park on the morning of June 17th, he brought Mackenzie back to his house where he bound her arms behind her back. Ayayi then began to strangle her. He eventually beat her before forcing her face down on the bed and strangling her with a belt.

In exchange for his guilty plea, the prosecution agreed to drop the kidnapping charges against Ayayi. The death penalty was also taken off the table. Ayayi will spend the rest of his life in prison. 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

The Murder of Karen Swift

Karen Swift (44) went missing in Dyersburg, Tennessee on October 30th, 2011. The previous evening, Karen attended a Halloween party at a country club, but had left early to pick up one of her daughters from a sleepover. She then returned to her home where she lived with her two daughters and her husband, David Swift. Karen had recently filed for divorce from David, however the two still lived in the same house, but in separate rooms. David stated that he saw Karen around midnight that night, and then one last time the following morning. She has never been seen or heard from again after that.
Karen’s car was found abandoned later that day, just a short distance from her house. She was subsequently reported missing later that evening when she failed to return home. After initial investigations, a search party was formed for Karen on December 10th, 2011. It was during that search that Karen’s body was found underneath some leaves near Bledsoe Cemetery in Dyer County. Her death was classified as a homicide.
David has been a person of interest in Karen’s case since the get-go. Their marriage was obviously strained around the time of her disappearance, and he was also the last known person to have seen her. Despite this, David has never been arrested or charged with anything in relation to Karen’s murder. 
For years, further details surrounding Karen's case remained a mystery. Her autopsy was sealed after it was performed, so the public knew very few details about her death. Karen's case finally got a fresh set of eyes in 2018, when a private investigator named Helen Michele Cohen began to investigate the murder. HMC's investigation finally revealed Karen's cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head. It was noted that Karen had significant injuries to her frontal and temporal lobes--which suggests that she was facing her attacker at the time she was struck. 
HMC's investigation revealed many other previously unknown detail about the case as well. These details have led to numerous new theories about Karen's murder.
In October 2011, it was well known that Karen was separated from her husband David. However, Karen might have been involved in a contentious situation with a few other people before her death as well. There were rumors that Karen had been in a relationship with a married couple. HMC spoke a close friend of Karen's in 2018, who confirmed these rumors. The friend reportedly also stated that Karen had confided that "she was involved in something that she wasn't proud of." It was later learned that the couple Karen was involved with had been giving her money.
Employees at the country club where the Halloween party was held also confirmed that Karen had been involved in an altercation with more than one woman that evening--one of those women being the daughter of a man who HMC refers to as "prominent man", who is suspected to be the owner of the country club. After Karen vanished, three separate witnesses reported seeing "prominent man" with a metal detector in the area where Karen's body was later found. 
Despite this new information, David Swift still remains a person of interest in the case. Still, nobody else in the case has been ruled out, either. Many people now believe there is a possibility that the aforementioned individuals might have information about her death. Karen's murder investigation remains open. If you have any information that could help the investigation, please contact the Dyer County Sheriff’s Office at 731-285-2802.

The Disappearance of Jeremy Howard

Jeremy Howard (19) vanished from La Jolla Cove in San Diego, California on December 24th, 2015. Jeremy is originally from Seattle, Washington, but three months before his disappearance, he travelled to San Diego to stay with his sister and brother-in-law. He was reportedly scheduled to fly back home to Seattle on the day he vanished.

Jeremy disappeared at some point between 5:30am and 6:00am. He and his brother-in-law were at La Jolla Cove together, watching the waves and looking for the seals. At some point between 5:30 and 6:00, the brother-in-law stepped away for approximately ten minutes. When he returned, Jeremy was gone. He has never been seen or heard from again. 

Due to the fact that Jeremy vanished so close to the water, it was originally theorized that he fell in. However, many extensive searches of the water near the cove turned up no sign of him. After those searches ended without any clues, Jeremy's loved ones started to believe something else might have happened. His sister explained to reporters, "the water me for the first couple of days, but after so many dives, there's only so far you could have went within a few minutes, if you did fall in the water or someone would have seen you." Jeremy is described as 6'4"-6'5" tall, which makes it more likely for him to have been spotted if he was in the water.

It was also theorized that Jeremy might have run off. His family members do not believe this to be the case. His sister said that he depends on his family a lot and it would be uncharacteristic for him take off without warning. His sister also stated that there were no issues between Jeremy and his brother-in-law, who he was with shortly before he vanished. 

A few days into the search, it was announced that police were searching for a witness who might have been present around the time of Jeremy's disappearance. Police described the witness as "an older white man, about 5 feet 7 and 150 pounds with short, straight white hair. He had a small, white fluffy dog and was driving a white Ford Explorer."It's unclear if investigators ever identified or spoke to this witness. 

Jeremy remains missing today. If you have any information that could lead to his whereabouts, please go here to submit an anonymous tip. 

Friday, October 16, 2020

The Disappearance of Davinia Sterling

Davinia Sterling has been missing since January 27th, 2010. The 31 year-old woman was last seen at the Regency Inn in the Arlington area of Jacksonville, Florida. Davinia had been staying at the hotel with her boyfriend, but checked out of the hotel on the day of her disappearance. She never returned to her three children and has never been seen or heard from again.

Davinia's boyfriend was the last person to see her before her disappearance. There are few details available about their relationship and any other circumstances surrounding Davinia's disappearance. At some point after Davinia vanished, her boyfriend was arrested in Texas on some unrelated outstanding warrants. He was subsequently questioned about Davinia's disappearance--and he told police that Davinia ran off after they had an argument. He reportedly did not provide any information about where Davinia might have gone. It is unclear if investigators believe the boyfriend's story, but he has never been named as a suspect in Davinia's case. 

Davinia remains missing today. If you have any information that could lead to her whereabouts, please go here to submit an anonymous tip. 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

The Disappearance of Alicia Griffin

Alicia Griffin has been missing since February 1st, 2014. At the time of her disappearance, the 37 year-old woman lived in Orlando, Florida. Alicia was reportedly last seen at an apartment complex off Lake Orlando Parkway. She left her children at home, in addition to many of her personal items including her cell phone. Alicia has never been seen or heard from again.

According to Alicia's family members, it is uncharacteristic for her to stay out of touch. She comes from a tight-knit family and it is unusual for her to go this long without communicating with them. It's also unusual for her to leave her children and cell phone behind. Despite all of this, investigators reportedly do not believe foul play was involved in Alicia's disappearance. 

Alicia did not have have any active bank or social media accounts, which makes it even more difficult for investigators to trace the actions leading up to her disappearance. Within the first year of her disappearance, there were a few reported sightings of her around Orange County--but unfortunately none of those sightings were ever confirmed. Additionally, Alicia's husband has also been investigated and cleared by detectives. 

Alicia remains missing today. If you have any information that could lead to her whereabouts, please go here to submit an anonymous tip. 

List Series: Broad Daylight Mysteries Vol. II

 Many people are taught to take extra precautions when going out alone at night. However, very few people are reminded to take these extra precautions while out and about during the day. While the daylight might provide comfort to some, it still does not eliminate the risk of coming to harm's way. Below is a list of 6 more cases that remain unsolved to this day; all of which happened in broad daylight.

Original list can be found here. 

The Murder of Keisha Murray

Keisha Murray (34) was found murdered in Jacksonville, Florida on July 7th, 2013. The mother-of-five was found in broad daylight at a cemetery on Ribault Scenic Drive. Keisha’s body had been set against a tree, and it appeared that she had recently been bathed. Police quickly labeled Keisha’s death as a homicide, though they have never publicly revealed her exact cause of death. Her killer remains unknown to this day.

Investigators believe that Keisha was killed somewhere else before her body was placed against the tree at the cemetery. Still, many questions remain. How did nobody notice Keisha's body being transported to the cemetery? How long had she been there before she was discovered? And most importantly--who killed her?

There are many theories that have been brought forth by Keisha's family members, but so far nothing has been confirmed and no suspects have been identified. There's speculation that her death is related to other alleged murders, and there's also a chance that Keisha's death is related to her legal struggles. Her case remains unsolved today. [read more]

The Disappearance of Lisa Green

Lisa Green has been missing since June 25th, 2014. The 31 year-old was last seen at her father's home on Gilmore Lane in Louisville, Kentucky. According to her father, Lisa stepped outside the house on the morning of June 25th and never came back inside. She has never been seen or heard from again.

Nobody in the house heard anything unusual when Lisa left the house. There are also no reports of any witnesses seeing anything unusual on the morning of Lisa's disappearance. Still, Lisa's disappearance was immediately suspicious to her family members for several reasons. Lisa left her keys, purse and identification behind--which initially indicated that she intended to come back. Additionally, it was very uncharacteristic for Lisa to abandon her children and family members. 

However, at some point after Lisa's disappearance, her loved ones found a note written by her that stated a man had been threatening to stalk and attack her. After this, Lisa's family members began to believe that she was forced to leave. She remains missing today and there are no known persons of interests or suspects. [read more]

The Disappearance of Sydney West

Sydney West (19) has been missing since September 30th, 2020. The young woman is originally from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, but she vanished in San Francisco, California. Prior to her disappearance, Sydney was taking classes at University of California Berkeley and staying with friends in the San Francisco area. She was reportedly last seen on the afternoon of September 30th, at Crissy Field--located near the Golden Gate bridge. Crissy Field is a popular area for joggers, cyclists, and other outdoor activities. It's unclear what Sydney was doing at Crissy Field that day, but she never returned home and has not been seen or heard from again.

Investigators have labeled Sydney as 'at-risk' due to depression. This has also raised more concerns, especially since Sydney was last seen near the Golden Gate bridge. However, at this time it appears that nobody reported seeing her actually on the bridge on the day of her disappearance. Sydney's case is currently active and her family members and friends are praying for her safe return. [read more]

The Disappearance of Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has been missing since November 21st, 2011. The 22 year-old woman lived in Leon, Virginia at the time, and she was attending school at Longwood University. Lauren was last seen between 3 and 4pm on the day of her disappearance, while visiting a friend working at a local 7-11. She drove her car to the 7-11, but left the store on foot. After that, Lauren seemingly vanished. She never returned home and has never been seen or heard from again. 

There are many theories about what might have happened to Lauren. Her cousin was reportedly one of the last people to see her--and he told police that he dropped her off at a house she was scheduled to clean at 2:15pm. However, investigators doubt this is true, as Lauren drove herself to a 7-11 just 45 minutes later. Additionally, the owner of the home said his house was never cleaned.  Investigators believe that Lauren's cousin is lying about dropping her off there, and that the cousin has access to vital information that he is withholding. He also reportedly left the state shortly after being interviewed by police. It is unclear if police have been able to contact him again.

Another theory is that Lauren possibly left on her own accord. A suitcase was discovered to be missing from her home and she had apparently spoken about disappearing to a few friends shortly before she vanished. Lauren's family members do not believe she would voluntarily stay out-of-touch for this long--especially since she left her passport behind and her cell phone has not been used since she was last seen.

Lauren remains missing today. [read more]

The Disappearance of Keeslyn Roberts

Keeslyn Roberts has been missing since January 18th, 2020. The 20 year-old woman was last seen at a Flying J truck stop in Resaca, Georgia. When Keeslyn arrived at the Flying J that day, she told people at the truck stop that she was there to see someone. Employees at the Flying J ended up calling 911 after Keeslyn reportedly entered an employee-only kitchen area and got into an altercation. She fled the scene before the police arrived, however her cash, debit cards, identification, and phone charger were left behind. At this time it is unclear how Keeslyn left the truck stop, as her vehicle was left behind as well. 

It does not appear that anyone actually saw her leave the premises. 
Some have theorized that Keeslyn left the Flying J with a trucker. There have been some reported sightings of her at multiple truck stops in various cities, however none of those sightings have been confirmed. Police have reportedly interviewed those closest to Keeslyn, including her boyfriend and the person she was planning to see at the Flying J that day—but so far nobody has been identified as a suspect or person of interest.

In early March 2020, investigators searched the Flying J. During said search, they found clothing that is believed to belong to Keeslyn in a dumpster behind the building. An anonymous witness told reporters that the clothes have been there since Keeslyn’s disappearance, however investigators did not obtain them until they conducted their search. The identity of this witness is currently unknown, but authorities stated that the witness has fully cooperated with the investigation. Keeslyn is considered missing under suspicious circumstances. [read more]

The Murder of Ally Brueger

Alexandra ‘Ally’ Brueger (31) was shot and murdered while jogging in her parent’s neighborhood on July 30th, 2016. The young woman had a passion for running. According to her parents, she would run 10 miles each day without any exceptions. On the afternoon she was murdered, Ally was shot multiple times in the back while running on one of her regular routes. She ran to the house of a local homeowner in the area while trying to flee her attacker. The local homeowner called 911 and attempted to stop the bleeding until paramedics showed up. Unfortunately, Ally was pronounced dead by time she arrived at the hospital. 

Ally’s murder still remains unsolved today. However, many leads have been chased. Investigators initially stated that everyone in Ally’s life was a suspect–including her ex-boyfriend Wes Sutherland, and her parents, Nikki and Franz Brueger. Wes himself pointed fingers at Ally’s parents as well. In fact, Wes made accounts on both Websleuths and Reddit, where he continued to state negative things about Nikki and Franz. Eventually, though, Nikki and Franz were ruled out as suspects, while Wes still remains on the potential suspect list. He continues to deny involvement in Ally’s murder. 

Michigan authorities are continuing to investigate this case. [read more]

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The Murder of Sydney Loofe

24 year-old Sydney Loofe’s final Snapchat, taken and sent on November 15th, 2017.

On the day this Snapchat was taken, Sydney planned to go on a second date with 23 year-old Bailey Boswell, a woman she had met on Tinder. Sydney never returned to her Lincoln, Nebraska home after meeting with Bailey and was reported missing after she failed to show up to work on November 16th. Around two weeks later, on November 28th, Lincoln Police announced that they wanted to question two persons of interest in Sydney’s case. One of those persons of interest was Bailey. The other was Bailey’s flatmate, a 51 year-old man named Aubrey Trail.

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Bailey Boswell (left), Aubrey Trail (right)
Between November 29th and 30th, Bailey and Aubrey posted two videos to the Find Sydney Loofe Facebook page, declaring their innocence in the case. In the first video, Bailey says that when she went to drive Sydney home after their date, Sydney requested to be dropped off at a friend’s house instead. After allegedly dropping her off at the home of this unidentified friend, Bailey claims she has not seen or heard from Sydney again. That first video was deleted a few hours later and the joint Facebook account that Bailey and Aubrey had been using was deactivated. Aubrey posted the second video on the following day. He once again declared their innocence in Sydney’s case and angrily called out people who accused them of wrongdoing. At the end of the video, Aubrey explains that, despite having warrants for other unrelated charges, he and Bailey were going to turn themselves in because it was the “only viable option” in order to clear their names in Sydney’s case. The two were taken into custody in Taney County, Missouri and were taken back to Nebraska on December 1st. After the Lincoln Police were able to speak with Aubrey and Bailey, they announced on December 2nd, 2017 that the two remained persons on interest in the case, but they had still had not been charged with anything related to Sydney’s disappearance. The two remained behind bars on the aforementioned unrelated charges.

On December 4th, 2017, Sydney’s body was found in a rural area of Clay County, Nebraska. In a press conference held the following day, authorities said that they had been following a “digital footprint” that prompted a search of that area and subsequently lead to the discovery of Sydney’s body.  Sydney had been strangled to death and dismembered.

Bailey Boswell and Aubrey Trail remained the only suspects in Sydney's murder, however they were not immediately charged with anything related to her case. Then, in February 2018, Aubrey reportedly admitted to killing Sydney. In a phone interview with a local news station, Aubrey said that Bailey Boswell was not in the room when Sydney was killed. “When she was told what happened, she freaked out so badly she had to be sent out with a bag of weed to try and calm down,” he told reporters. 

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Aubrey Trail in an interrogation room
Finally, on June 11th, 2018, Bailey and Aubrey were charged with first-degree murder and improper disposal of human skeletal remains in the killing of Sydney Loofe. It was then that even more evidence of the couple’s guilt was revealed. According to court documents, Sydney and Bailey met for their first date on November 14th, 2017. At the end of that date, they decided to meet up the following night for a second date. Around 10:35am the following day, hours before the planned second date, Bailey and Aubrey were captured by surveillance footage at Home Depot purchasing the tools and supplies believed to have been used in the dismemberment and disposal of Sydney. This particular clue indicates that the killing was premeditated, because Sydney was still alive at the time the purchase was made.

Aubrey Trail went to trial in June 2019. During the trial, he exhibited odd behavior in court. After a witness left the stand during testimony, Aubrey immediately screamed"Bailey is innocent, and I curse you all!"before slitting his throat with an object that appeared to be a blade. He was immediately taken to the hospital where he recovered and the trial was able to continue. Eventually, in July 2019, Aubrey was found guilty of all charges.  He is currently awaiting sentencing and the death penalty is being considered.

Bailey Boswell has pleaded not guilty and is expected to go to trial during the fall of 2019.
UPDATE (October 14, 2020): Bailey Boswell has been found guilty of the murder of Sydney Loofe.

At trial, it was revealed that Bailey had fantasies of sexual torture. Both she and Trail attempted to get numerous girls involved in their sexual relations. Both were also interested in witchcraft and the pair spoke numerous times about "gaining witchcraft powers" by killing someone. This evidence, in addition to the physical evidence, pointed to Bailey's guilt. She remains behind bars and will be sentenced at a later date.

Lists including this case:

The Murder of Mackenzie Lueck

Mackenzie Lueck was tragically murdered at the age of 23 during the early morning hours of June 17th, 2019.  Mackenzie was a student at the ...