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Senior Lauren McCluskey Killed at University of Utah

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Fairfield chapter.

On Monday evening, senior track star at the University of Utah Lauren McCluskey was shot and killed in a vehicle by Melvin Rowland.

McCluskey had just recently broken off her relationship with Rowland, after she found out that he had lied about his name, age, and criminal past. The 37-year-old was a registered sex offender and spent almost ten years in jail after being convicted of enticing a minor and attempted forcible sexual abuse.

When McCluskey found out who Rowland really was, she broke off their month long relationship and he immediately began to harass her by sending her emails and texts. He had also attempted to confront her on campus.

Rowland went as far as blackmailing McCluskey and threatening to post “compromising” photos of them on the internet if she did not pay him.

McCluskey paid him $1,000 in an attempt to make him stop, and then reported him to campus police on October 12th, three days after they broke up. A sex extortion investigation was opened but he was not reported to the Utah Department of Corrections, even though he was on parole at the time.  The police also allegedly failed to begin investigating until ten days after McCluskey reported the messages. She was killed three days after the investigation began.

Rowland finally confronted McCluskey as she was on her way home from a class and he forced her into a car where he shot her. She was on the phone with her mom when he attacked her. Her mother thought she had been in a car accident, but a few moments later a girl picked up the phone and said Lauren’s belongings were all over the ground.

A manhunt ensued and ended when Rowland killed himself on Tuesday morning.  Rowland was identified by a woman that had gone on a date with him after he killed McCluskey. The woman had no idea what had happened before their date and recognized him in the news reports.

There has been an outpour of support for McCluskey, especially from the University of Utah, as the investigation is still ongoing.




Alexis DiZenzo is a motivated Connecticut native. She attends Fairfield University where she is majoring in digital journalism and minoring in marketing. She is currently co-campus corespondent of Fairfield's Her Campus chapter. Along with managing Her Campus Fairfield, Alexis has interned with The Secured Lender Magazine, and NBC Sports. She is a contributing writer for Elite Daily as well as Thought Catalog. In the early stages of her college career, Alexis has taken the initiative to reach far among the stars and achieve goals early on. She has a great sense of editing, writing, publishing, marketing and leadership as well as strong interpersonal skills. (And a fun-loving, outgoing personality!) Alexis' favorite book (and movie) is The Great Gatsby, she lives by the words of Carrie Bradshaw and you could definitely find her on a beach, soaking up the sun. Instagram @alexisdizenzo www.alexisfdizenzo.com