NewsLocal News


More women come forward with stories of harassment from man who killed U of U student

Posted at 6:51 PM, Oct 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-24 20:51:46-04

SALT LAKE CITY — More women are coming forward who say they too have had uncomfortable relationships with Melvin Rowland, the man who shot and killed University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey Monday night.

"His name was Sean, S-E-A-N, and I remember that so clearly because I have a friend named Sean, and so at the time that he told me that, I was like, oh, that’s my friend's name," said Tiesha Sandoval, A victim of harassment.

Sandoval, 21, said when she met Melvin Rowland back in 2016, he didn't just lie about his name, he told her he was more than 10 years younger than he really was. But in the beginning, Sandoval said, Rowland was good at playing a part.

"He would just joke around. He’s tall. He’s always dressed nice," Sandoval said.

Sandoval said it only took hanging out with Rowland once for him to show her his true colors.

"The next thing you know, he pulled me on his lap when I went to go sit down on the couch," Sandoval said, "and he was just trying to get me to do sexual gestures."

After that, Sandoval said she felt uncomfortable around Rowland and tried to ignore him, but he wouldn't accept that, grabbing her arm one day at work and texting her constantly everyday for two weeks.

"Just constant text messages," Sandoval said. "They were pretty constant and harassing."

Domestic violence advocates say this incident includes clear risk factors of an unhealthy relationship.

"We always encourage seeking help as soon as you can. It’s a great lifesaver to seek those resources that we have in the community immediately," said Claire Mosby, prevention coordinator for the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition.

In the end, Sandoval said she feels lucky her situation didn't end differently, and urges other women to acknowledge when an interaction feels wrong.

If you notice any of the risk factors mentioned in a relationship you have, the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition urges you can contact a 24 hour free and confidential support line at 1-800-897-LINK.

Read another account of a woman who said Rowland harassed her here.