Jul 01, 2019
The estranged wife of Utah murder suspect Ayoola Ajayi says she was forced to flee their turbulent marriage when he slashed her with a butcher’s knife and threatened to kidnap her.
Ajayi is accused of kidnapping and killing 23-year-old University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck before burning her body and burying it in a back yard in North Salt Lake.
He is still legally married to mother-of-four Tenisha Jenkins Ajayi, but the pair have not seen one another for years after she went into hiding and changed her cell phone because of his violent outbursts.
“If he took an innocent child he needs to spend his life in jail,” she said through tears, in an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com.
“If they need me to come to court and testify against him, I’ll tell them how he was aggressive and controlling. This could have happened to me. This could have happened to my child.”
Tenisha, 35, insists she married Nigerian IT worker Ajayi, nicknamed AJ, for love rather than any form of financial or immigration arrangement.
They were introduced to one another in 2011 by a family friend and were married by June of that year.
“My Godmother said to me I’ve got someone for you,” Tenisha recalled.
“I asked her, is he crazy, is he a killer but she said he was a good person.
“For our first date, we went to her house. He was cool, he was a loving person, not crazy.
“My kids liked him. He used to buy them clothes, do stuff for them. He paid for my apartment, my childcare, everything.
“The wedding was in downtown Dallas. Nobody came but we didn’t invite nobody. I and mom were into it at the time. He didn’t invite any of his family either. His mama doesn’t speak English.”
Tenisha was already pregnant with the youngest of her two sons when she met Ajayi.
She says their tempestuous union was already crumbling by the time Jojo, now seven was born.
“AJ told me he was going back to his hometown in Utah and I didn’t want to go with him. That made him angry but I have kids, I couldn’t just leave Dallas,” she said.
“He was telling me not to talk to anybody. He used to check up on me. He started to get more and more aggressive. Eventually, he said he would kill me if I didn’t go to Utah.”
The last time Tenisha says she saw her estranged husband was at a friend’s house in Dallas where he repeated his threat before trying to grab her.
“He tried to tie me up with a phone chord. When I went running he blocked the door. I ended up jumping through a window and cutting my arm on the glass’ she told DailyMail.com.
“He chased me into the street with a knife and cut me in the hand. I didn’t go to the police but I moved out of my apartment so he couldn’t find me.
“I kept telling him I don’t want to be with you, I want a divorce. He wouldn’t sign the papers. His friend from the Army kept calling me, saying they were going to kidnap me.
“I was really frightened. He kept saying he was going to kill me.”
Ajayi was pictured being taken into custody by a number of armed SWAT officers last Friday morning.
Shortly afterwards, investigators charged him with the murder of Lueck who disappeared on June 17 after taking a Lyft from the airport to a park located miles away from her apartment in Salt Lake and getting into another vehicle.
Ajayi was employed by the Army as an Information Technology Specialist for nearly two years before leaving in June 2016, according to his LinkedIn profile, UK DailyMail reports.