College senior was murdered by her ex-boyfriend on campus, police say
Lauren McCluskey was 21
A student athlete was killed by her ex-boyfriend, according to police. Lauren McCluskey, a senior comms major at the University of Utah, was on the phone with her mom when she was shot dead on campus. "I heard her yell no, no, no," said Lauren's mom Jill, before the phone went silent.
Cops say Lauren's ex, a 37-year-old man named Melvin Rowland, harassed her days before he killed her. Lauren, 21, had blocked his number and reported him to the University of Utah Police twice. Rowland was not studying or teaching at the college. According to Lauren's parents, they dated for a month and broke up when she found out he lied about his name, age and criminal record. Back in 2003, he was charged with trying to solicit sex from an investigator posing as a 13-year-old girl.
Last Monday, after police heard reports of a possible abduction and gunshots, they found Lauren's body in a campus parking lot. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, someone picked up Rowland from the scene and drove him away. Rowland fled to Trinity African Methodist Episcopal Church, pursued by cops. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside a pastor's study, and his body was found around 1.30 AM.
Lauren's mom Jill said in a statement: "I thought she might have been in a car accident. That was the last I heard from her. 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."
Lauren was a heptathlete on her college's track team. A GoFundMe has been set up to pay for her funeral expenses.