The news has been full of reports about the kidnapping and murder of Mackenzie Luek in Salt Lake City last week. While there have not been a lot of details released regarding the story, the sad reality is that this is not an isolated story in the United States. Mackenzie knew her kidnapper, whom she met in a park late at night on her way home from the airport. Fortunately, law enforcement was able to use cellular forensics to track both Mackenzie and her killer to the same place and time before her phone went dead. Had law enforcement not had that capability, the case could remain a mystery.
Mackenzie’s case, like many here in the US, has some very familiar characteristics.
– Mackenzie knew and had a relationship with her killer. This is true of a large majority of kidnappings, trafficking cases, and homicides.
– Mackenzie was lured in the midst of her normal life pattern so that no one would miss her. This is also true of many kidnappings, trafficking cases and homicides.
– Mackenzie did not notify her friends or family of her whereabouts. The only information they had was her flight information as she returned from California.
It does not matter if your date is a known or an unknown, it is important to trust but verify their information and motivation. Always make sure that several people know where you are and with whom. Make sure they know your expected time of return and that a communications plan is established if you should decide to spend the night. We recommend that you wear a Fitbit or smart watch so that more than just your phone can be used to track you. Make sure someone has the ability to access your Fitbit or smart watch account, should you go missing. This may all sound terribly paranoid, but if you are living life on your own terms, it is wise to have trusted friends who watch your back. It is important to hold each other accountable for checking in and, in the process, your security will make potential perpetrators think twice about choosing you as a victim.