University of Utah track and field star Lauren McCluskey was shot and killed after class Monday, by her ex-boyfriend, Melvin Rowland. McCluskey, was a senior communication major from Pullman, Washington, and 3.75 GPA student athlete.
Jill McCluskey, Lauren’s mother, a professor at Washington State University, released a statement which she describes being on the phone with her daughter at the time of the apparent attack.
“Last night a little before 9 p.m., she was returning to her university apartment from her night class and talking to me on the phone, suddenly, I heard her yell, ‘No, no, no!’ I thought she might have been in a car accident. That was the last I heard from her,” she said. Her husband called 9-1-1, when police arrived they found Lauren dead in the backseat of a parked car near a residential hall on campus. She was 21.
A short time later near the University of Utah, the suspect in the case 37-year old Melvin Rowland was found in a church near campus, CBS Salt Lake City affiliate KUTV reports, dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Jill McCluskey said Rowland lied to her daughter about his name, age and criminal history. Lauren McCluskey reportedly ended the relationship on Oct. 9 after a friend told her about Rowland’s criminal history.
In 2004, public records show that Rowland was convicted of forcible sexual abuse and enticing a minor. According to University of Utah Police Chief Dale Brophy, Rowland had disappeared from the Fortitude Treatment Center, a halfway house in Salt Lake City. Police did not have a current address for him.
Earlier this month, McCluskey filed a harassment report with university police related to Rowland. Detectives had been in touch with McCluskey regarding the allegation, according to Brophy, who would not provide further details related to that investigation.
Classes at the university were cancelled Tuesday and grief counseling is available to all students.