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Friends hold vigil for Mackenzie Lueck, vow to take action

(Photo: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY — Tears and hugs at the University of Utah as friends and sorority sisters of Mackenzie Lueck hold a vigil for their murdered friend.  Some of them say they’ve been inspired to take action to honor her.

Some members of the Alpha Chi Omega Sorority still have a hard time accepting the fact that their friend has been killed.  One member, Rachel Roach still has trouble wrapping her head around it.

She said, “I honestly was in denial most of the time.  I [thought] she was going to come home.”

Flowers surrounded the podium next to a picture of a smiling Lueck.  On stage, her sisters couldn’t help but cry as they think about the woman who they say went out of her way to make people feel welcome.

One said, “Kenzie, we miss you.  We want you back.”  Another said, “It breaks my heart knowing that she died alone in such a scary place.”

All of her friends wish they could give Lueck one last hug and have one last chance to say goodbye.

“Hold your loved ones close.  If you have arguments between them, make sure you mend them,” according to one speaker.

Lueck’s “little sister” in Alpha Chi Omega, Kennedy Stoner, announced she and others in the sorority will be starting Mackenzie’s Voice, a nonprofit group that will raise money for the families of missing victims.  She says it’s something Lueck would want.

“She always knew how to make you feel loved and she always knew the right words to say,” Stoner said.

During the vigil, the sisters took time to thank the Salt Lake City Police Department for finding her and tracking down her accused killer.  Still, they say they’ll need time to get over the heartbreak.

“We know nothing can change what happened.  We know that there’s nothing anyone could have done to stop it,” one sister said.