Today, Barstool Sports published a blog about University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck, who had been missing since June 17. The post, which was tonally confounding and appeared under the headline “College Student Mackenzie Lueck, Fan Of Call Her Daddy And Proud Sugar Baby, Still Missing; Sorority Sisters Hopeful Due To Her Recent Instagram Activity,” was quietly deleted after police charged a suspect with her murder.
It’s unclear why the article, by Francis Ellis, existed in the first place. Even though it was written while Lueck was still a missing-person case, her story seemed like an unwise premise for a lighthearted blog. Also, the jokes weren’t very good. Ellis was citing a New York Post article from this morning about how Lueck’s Instagram account had been active recently. Then he did some investigating of his own, which led to his discovery that Lueck was a fan of one of Barstool’s podcasts. That revelation was meant to be some sort of punchline. Okay!
The post itself is no longer online, but here are slightly NSFW screenshots, via Tim Burke:
At a news conference today, Salt Lake City police said they had charged a suspect in Lueck’s death and also had reason to believe that her body was burned in a backyard. Via ABC News:
Ayoola Ajayi, 31, is charged with aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, obstruction of justice and desecration of a body, Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said at a news conference on Friday.
Charred tissue has been recovered that contains DNA consistent with samples found on Lueck’s belongings, Brown said.
I asked Ellis as well as Barstool editor-in-chief Keith Markovich if anyone besides the author had looked at the blog before it was published. (Update: Ellis’s statement is below.) Markovich did give a peek into the editing process, if that’s what it can be called:
Update (6:04 p.m. ET): Ellis has been fired, according to site founder Dave Portnoy.
Update (8:22 p.m. ET): Ellis has posted a statement:
H/t to Anon