NBC’s ‘Dateline: The Waiting Car’ is an episode that profiles the 2019 murder of 23-year-old MacKenzie Lueck, a University of Utah student, whose remains were recovered partly from a backyard and partly from a shallow grave in a canyon nearly two weeks after she was strangled to death. Around that same time, Ayoola Ajayi, then-31, was charged and arrested for her brutal kidnapping and slaying. But even though he pleaded guilty and is now behind bars for his offenses, the effect his actions had on MacKenzie’s family, especially her parents, hangs like a dark cloud over their heads.
Who Are MacKenzie Lueck’s Parents?
MacKenzie Speth Lueck grew up in the Los Angeles suburb of El Segundo in California, where she lived a happy life with her three brothers, one older and two younger, and her parents, Diana and Gregory Lueck. Yet, when the time came, she decided that she wanted to attend the University of Utah, 700 miles from home, to study kinesiology and pre-nursing. For the next few years, the Lueck family lived a seemingly ordinary life, but that all changed on June 17, 2019, when MacKenzie flew back to Salt Lake City, Utah, after attending her grandmother’s funeral.
Diana and Gregory became suspicious that something was wrong on June 17 itself. When MacKenzie landed in the city at around 2 a.m., she texted her mother, “Landed,” and “Love you mama.” However, when Diana tried to respond shortly after, she realized that her daughter’s phone was off. Furthermore, after Gregory tried to call MacKenzie, only to be redirected to her voicemail, the Lueck family became genuinely worried about her well-being. So, on June 20, when they discovered that her friends hadn’t seen or heard from her either, they reported MacKenzie missing.
For the next two weeks, while Diana, Gregory, and their three sons tried to do all they could to look for MacKenzie from California, her Alpha Chi Omega sorority sisters stepped up to find her in Utah. Together, they even created the now-defunct Find MacKenzie Lueck Facebook page to garner national media attention on the matter. Ultimately, all their hard work paid off, but not in the way they’d hoped. After all, in July, Ayoola Ajayi was charged with aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, obstruction of justice, and desecration of a body in connection to MacKenzie’s killing.
Where Are MacKenzie Lueck’s Parents Now?
When Ayoola Ajayi pleaded guilty to the charges against him and was about to be sentenced to life in prison, he apologized to both Diana and Gregory for what he did, adding, “I deserve what I’m going to get. I know this won’t bring her back.” But the Luecks had already told him that they would never forgive him, making it clear that he would receive no pity, mercy, or compassion from them because he’d showed none to MacKenzie. “I’m not sure you even have anything to look forward to in the afterlife, if you believe in that,” Gregory Lueck said.
“My daughter…was a sweet, amazing young lady with the world ahead of her,” he continued. “She was a kindhearted person that cared about others. Now, I will not have the opportunity to see her blossom in life.” Once the legal process was over, Diana admitted that she’s content with the verdict. “This sentence today will not bring back MacKenzie,” she stated. “But I hope it will keep this defendant out of the public eye and unable to commit these heinous crimes again.” Gregory, though, said he looked forward to the day Ayoola died.
Ever since MacKenzie’s passing was confirmed, the Luecks have lived a private life. They had asked for privacy during the trying times of 2019, and even now, they rarely speak publicly about the matter. Although, from what we can tell, it seems like Diana and Gregory Lueck still reside in El Segundo, California.
Read More: Where is Ayoola Ajayi Now?