U of U shooting victim's family spoke to her just before the murder

Lauren McCluskey was a cross-country and track-and-field star at the University of Utah. (University of Utah/Steve C. Wilson)

(KUTV) -- Lauren McCluskey's parents released a statement following the news of the death of their daughter, who was a student at the University of Utah.

According to the statement, McCluskey's mother was talking to her on the phone just before the murder.

The family also revealed that Lauren had a previous relationship with her killer, Melvin Rowland, 37. However, when a friend told her about Rowland's criminal history, she ended the relationship.

Read the entire statement below:

It is with deepest sadness that we let you know that our daughter Lauren McCluskey, age 21, was the University of Utah student who was killed last night. Laurent previously dated her killer for about one month. He lied to her about his name, his age and his criminal history. Lauren was informed by a friend about his criminal history, and she ended the relationship with her killer on Oct. 9, 2018. He had borrowed her car, and she requested for the University of Utah police accompany her on Oct. 10, 2018 to get the car back. She blocked his and his friends' phone numbers and complained to University of Utah police that she was being harassed. 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. My husband called 911. I kept the line open and in a few minutes, a young woman picked up the phone and said all of Lauren's things were on the ground.
Lauren was a senior student athlete on the University of Utah track team. She was an outstanding student with a 3.7 GPA majoring in Communication and was excited to graduate in May 2019. She was a 2015 honors graduate of Pullman High School where she was Washington state champion in the high jump and the school record holder in the 100 meter hurdles. She attended Capital Church in Salt Lake City. She loved to sing and had strength and determination. She was dearly loved and will be greatly missed.

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