SALT LAKE CITY — Lauren McCluskey, a murdered University of Utah student, figured out that her soon-to-be killer wasn’t who he said he was, that he had a criminal history, and was a sex offender DAYS before she was murdered, all because of a simple Google search.
She passed that information along to the University of Utah Police well before her death.
That wasn’t the only time that she reached out, either. Lauren made over 20 different phone calls to police in the 12 days leading up to her murder.
From the very moment she first contacted campus police on October 12, she told the responding officer that she was “concerned that [Rowland’s] friends are trying to lure her into a trap.”
She was scared, and she was doing her own investigation. Lauren sent police Melvin Rowland’s photo, his height and his weight along with all the information that they would need to make an arrest. Those emails are very clear that he was a sex offender.
“I’ve heard all the excuses,” Dave Noriega said Tuesday on Dave & Dujanovic. “‘We looked it up, we didn’t check all the right databases.’ She did it for you! She had the name, she passed it on to you, how did you not do anything with that information at that point?”
Lauren McCluskey was a 21-year-old college student who, according to a Dateline NBC investigation that aired Monday night, had very little experience dating. Even with all of that naiveté, she figured out that she was being manipulated within a matter of weeks, alone, away from family, in a different state.
She was able to figure all of this out with a simple Google search.
Resources to spot a bad relationship before it starts
Google is a powerful tool, and it’s free, but it’s not the only resource that you have at your disposal, KSL Newsradio has learned. Social media, in fact, can be very telling.
“I always go looking for someone on Facebook,” Debbie Dujanovic said on Tuesday’s show, “because if I don’t see a profile that matches up with their name I think they’re either a CIA spy, or they’re lying.”
Another place to go looking is mugshots.com. Debbie says she uses it all the time. If you run someone’s name through the site it will provide you with a brief background on who that person is and a mugshot if they’ve been arrested.
“I typed in Melvin Rowland’s name this morning,” Dave said, “I got three mugshots back, he was the top three results.”
Retired West Valley City Detective Ellis Maxwell, who now works as a private investigator, says that along with doing your own Googling, there are private companies out there that are available to help and advocate for people — and will even help you perform a criminal background check.
Hear the warning signs and the rest of the conversation with Ellis Maxwell in the podcast below.
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