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Missing University of Utah Student Last Seen Meeting Someone in a Park By Her Lyft Driver, Police Say

Ciara Nugent
University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck, 23, was last seen by a Lyft driver meeting someone in a park in North Salt Lake City.

A missing University of Utah student was last seen by a Lyft driver meeting someone in a car in a park, Salt Lake City police said Monday.

Mackenzie Lueck, a 23 year-old senior at the university, arrived at Salt Lake City International Airport around 1 a.m. on June 17 after flying back from visiting family for a funeral in California, Assistant Police Chief Tim Doubt said during a press conference.

Lueck then texted her parents to let them know she had landed and took a Lyft to Hatch Park in North Salt Lake City, arriving there at 2:59 a.m., he added. The park is about an 8-mile drive from her home in the city, according to The Washington Post.

Police interviewed the Lyft driver and learned that “an individual in a vehicle” met Lueck after she was dropped off, Doubt said. “The Lyft driver left Mackenzie at the park with that person and stated that Mackenzie did not appear to be in any kind of distress.” Lyft told CBS News in a statement that it is “actively assisting law enforcement with their investigation.” There were no irrregularities in Lueck’s Lyft ride and her driver immediately began picking up other customers after dropping her off, the company added. Lyft did not immediately return a request for comment from TIME.

Lueck’s parents reported her missing to police on June 20 after she missed a mid-term exam and a flight to Los Angeles, Doubt said. She is studying kinesiology, according to the Salt Lake Tribune and a friend told the paper she had also missed classes and her job at a local medical lab. Doubt said police could not yet confirm the make and model of the car that met Lueck or any details about the person inside.

Detectives have been trying to contact Lueck but her phone has been turned off, Doubt said. Police are interviewing her family and friends and monitoring social media. “At this time there is no evidence that any harm has come to her,” he said. But, he added, “the circumstances of her just going off the grid [are] concerning to us.

“Mackenzie, we are asking you to please reach out to the Salt Lake City Police Department or a law enforcement agency where you are at,” Doubt said. “We just want to make sure you are safe and we will respect your wishes.”