After 21-year-old University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey was shot and killed on campus on Monday evening, police say that her ex-boyfriend was behind her murder.
McCluskey, a track-and-field athlete, was on the phone with her mother at the time of her death. “Suddenly, I heard her yell, ‘No, no, no!’ I thought she might have been in a car accident,” her mother, Jill McCluskey, said in a statement to press. “That was the last I heard from her.” McCluskey’s body was found in a car on campus shortly after 8:20 p.m.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, police believe that 37-year-old Melvin Rowland shot McCluskey after getting in a dispute with her. He then led police on a manhunt, before shooting and killing himself in the pastor’s study of a nearby church. His body was discovered at 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning.
McCluskey’s parents say she dated Rowland for about a month, during which “he lied to her about his name, his age, and his criminal history.” (Rowland was a convicted sex offender in Utah.) When McCluskey found out about Rowland’s past, she ended the relationship. A CDC study released in 2017 found that over half of women killed in America are murdered by a current or former romantic partner.
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