Governor orders investigations following murder of University of Utah student

Posted at 12:32 PM, Oct 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-25 14:38:23-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Governor Gary Herbert has ordered a pair of investigations following the murder of a University of Utah student.

Speaking to reporters at his monthly news conference on KUED, the governor expressed his condolences to family and friends of Lauren McCluskey.

“It’s a little bit of a somber morning on the University of Utah campus as we all mourn the tragic loss of Lauren McCluskey,” he said Thursday.

The governor announced an investigation into Utah’s Department of Corrections and the Board of Pardons and Parole to determine if any mistakes were made.

McCluskey was shot and killed Monday night outside dormitories at the University of Utah. Melvin Rowland, 37, killed himself inside a nearby church. Family members have said McCluskey, 21, had dated Rowland for about a month and broke it off when she learned he had lied about his name, age and the fact that he was a registered sex offender.

McCluskey reported instances of harassment to University of Utah police, but questions have been raised about whether that information was passed on to parole agents who had oversight of Rowland.

Rowland had served prison time for a 2004 conviction of attempted forcible sex abuse and enticing a minor. He also had a history of parole violations.

On Thursday, Utah’s Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing issued a cease-and-desist order to Black Diamond Security, accusing them of operating without proper licensing. The company employed Rowland.

Governor Gary Herbert speaks to reporters at his monthly news conference on KUED on Oct. 25, 2018. (Image via KUED)

Gov. Herbert stopped short of calling for an outside investigation into the University of Utah, expressing confidence in President Ruth Watkins, but said he wanted to see if any errors or mistakes were made on the part of state agencies.

“We need to find out what the facts are and react to the facts. There’s a lot of speculation going on, some rumor going on and we don’t want to react to that. We want to know exactly what’s going on and what the truth is and then if there’s mistakes made take corrective action,” he said.