DISCLAIMER: the following is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the views of KSL Newsradio or its ownership.
As news updates come forward in the vanishing of Mackenzie Lueck, it’s important to remember that the missing-person case is still developing and to refrain from jumping to conclusions — until all the facts are in — about what happened, who is responsible, where the victim is and whether she had anything to do with her own disappearance. There is still a lot that remains unknown. But, of course, it’s human nature to fill in the blanks without knowing all the facts.
Lueck, 23, was last seen by a Lyft driver who dropped her off at Hatch Park in North Salt Lake early at about 3 a.m. on June 17 after she arrived at Salt Lake International Airport — where she was spotted on video — from a trip to California. The Lyft driver reported seeing her get into a vehicle with someone else. And that was the last anyone has heard from Lueck.
She missed midterms this week and also her flight back home to California on Sunday for a wedding.
That leads me to believe something nefarious has happened here. A young woman who apparently used her cellphone for everything is now — silent.
Unknowns, gaps and ????
Police are now trying to locate a mattress and box spring from a Fairpark home, which police say is connected to the investigation.
Police searched the home and dug holes in the backyard. The unidentified homeowner, who rents out the basement as an Airbnb, is a person of interest in the case, police said.
The mattress and box spring, which were apparently given away last week, the items found by police in the home and the homeowner’s possible connection to Lueck remain unknown. No arrests have been made.
I’m speculating here but it sounds more like she disappeared against her will. Now the question becomes: Is she still alive?
SeekingArrangement.com spokeswoman Kimberly De La Cruz told KSL TV the company is aware of reports that Lueck was on their website, but did not confirm that Lueck had an account. The site facilitates transactional relationships between people looking for so-called “Sugar Daddies” and “Sugar Mamas” and “Sugar Babies,” allowing users to build relationships on their own terms, according to the site. She said the company has no way to monitor activity if a conversation between members moves off the site.
In a statement on Thursday, the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition urged people who are concerned about Lueck’s disappearance not to resort to blaming the victim.
“While we do not know the details of Mackenzie’s disappearance, we do know that victim blaming and shaming is inappropriate and unacceptable,” the coalition said. “Our focus should solely be on the safety and wellbeing of Mackenzie Lueck.”
It’s unfortunate that victim-blamers decide that a person’s life is not as valued because they have made choices the blamers and shamers disagree with.
It doesn’t matter what choices she has made, she’s still entitled to her life. However, it’s important to point out that it can be dangerous to meet with strangers if that’s what happened here. If she made that choice, she may have walked into harm’s way.
But to attack her or victim-blame her — easy to do in today’s world — is something I would caution anyone against until all the facts are known. Stand tall and don’t participate in that discussion.
Jay Mcfarland hosts the JayMac News Show, weekdays from 12:30 to 3 p.m. on KSL Newsradio, as well as the fictional podcast, Hosts of Eden. KSL Newsradio is part of Bonneville Media and based in Salt Lake City, Utah.
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