Ajayi faces four felony counts regarding the murder of Utah college student, Mackenzie Lueck.

Ayoola Ajayi, a Nigerian immigrant, has been charged with the kidnapping and murder of Mackenzie Lueck, a 23-year-old United States of America college student.

Lueck, a pre-nursing student studying kinesiology at the University of Utah, went missing on June 17, 2019 shortly after arriving at the Salt Lake City airport following her grandmother's funeral in Los Angeles.

Mackenzie Lueck [Daily Mail]
Mackenzie Lueck [Daily Mail]

Investigators discovered that Ajayi was the last person the deceased communicated with, and he was taken into custody on June 28 after a search of his home led to the discovery of a freshly dug area along with burnt human tissue and personal items belonging to Lueck.

Neighbours told authorities Ajayi was seen burning something using gasoline in his backyard on June 17 and 18.

Lueck's corpse was later recovered, on July 3, in Logan Canyon, about 85 miles north of Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake County District Attorney, Sim Gill, announced on Wednesday, July 10 that Ajayi has been charged with aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, desecration of a human body and obstruction of justice.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill [Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune]
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill [Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune]

He said Lueck's cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. The deceased El Segundo woman was also discovered by authorities with her arms bound behind her back by a zip tie and rope.

Gill disclosed that cellphone records showed Ajayi was near Logan Canyon on June 25, leading authorities to search the area where Lueck's corpse was found last week.

"This continues to be an ongoing, active investigation. It has not come to a conclusion," Gill said.

Ajayi was banned from campus by the Utah State University in 2012 after the expiration of his student visa. He was also arrested in connection to a stolen iPad, as well as investigated in 2014 for the alleged rape of a co-worker at a Logan financial company. The alleged victim decided to not press charges.

Despite the expiration of his visa, Ajayi was not deported because he had married an American woman, Tenisha Jenkins Ajayi, in 2011, a union that made him a legal U.S. citizen.

Tenisha Jenkins Ajayi [Daily Mail]
Tenisha Jenkins Ajayi [Daily Mail]

Even though she's still legally married to him, Tenisha told Daily Mail last week that they've not seen each other for years. She said she was forced to flee their turbulent marriage and go into hiding after he slashed her with a butcher's knife and threatened to kidnap her.

"I kept telling him I don't want to be with you, I want a divorce. He wouldn't sign the papers. 

"His friend from the Army kept calling me, saying they were going to kidnap me.

"I was really frightened. He kept saying he was going to kill me," she said.

Ayoola Ajayi could be sentenced to death if convicted of aggravated murder [CBS News]
Ayoola Ajayi could be sentenced to death if convicted of aggravated murder [CBS News]

Tenisha, 35, also expressed willingness to testify against Ajayi in court to reveal how he was "aggressive and controlling".

Ajayi's initial court appearance has been scheduled for Monday, July 15.

The aggravated murder charge carries a potential death penalty if Ajayi is convicted but Gill said on Wednesday that it would be premature to talk about it.