ESPN Documentary On Lauren McCluskey’s Murder Promises New Revelations

In 2018, the murder of a student-athlete at the University of Utah dominated the news, locally and nationally. As more of the circumstances surrounding her death came to light—her unheeded pleas for help, police misconduct, the final phone call with her parents—the more Lauren McCluskey’s death gripped our attention. The question that dominated minds and headlines: how could this happen? Now a new, upcoming documentary could provide some more answers. The ESPN investigative documentary, LISTEN, will examine the events that led to Lauren McCluskey’s death, the institutional failures and her parents’ quest for answers.

Lauren McCluskey’s murder by Melvin Rowland continues to influence policy and discussions about campus safety (After her death, her parents established the Lauren McCluskey Foundation in part to support campus safety.) because, as documented in LISTEN, “the people and the institutions responsible for protecting her failed at every turn,” according to an ESPN press release. 

The trailer for LISTEN, a new ESPN investigative documentary on Lauren McCluskey

The ESPN documentary will take a look at the allegations of University of Utah Police misconduct, ensuing state legislation, the lawsuit against the University of Utah that resulted in a $13.5 million settlement for the McCluskey family, and continual institutional issues. 

The documentary is set to run 90 minutes and includes new reporting by ESPN journalists T.J. Quinn and Nicole Noren, revelations and interviews, as well as “never-before-seen surveillance video, police and dispatch recordings, previously unreleased video and audio interviews from the homicide investigation and phone recordings.” Quinn and Noren are also expected to give insight into their ongoing battles to obtain records from the University of Utah. ESPN is billing LISTEN as “part true crime and part accountability journalism.”

Lauren McCluskey's parents in LISTEN, an ESPN documentary about their daughter's death. (Courtesy ESPN)
Lauren McCluskey’s parents appear in LISTEN, an ESPN documentary about their daughter’s death. (Courtesy ESPN)

In addition to interviews with Lauren’s parents, Jill and Matt McCluskey, the documentary features numerous people connected to the case speaking publicly about it for the first time, including:

  • Sean Reyes—Utah Attorney General
  • Miguel Deras—former campus police officer
  • Paul Amann–Former Utah Asst. Attorney General, who prosecuted Rowland for two sex crimes
  • Megan Thomson—Rowland’s parole agent
  • A woman who dated Rowland

Other interviews in the documentary include:

  • Two of Lauren McCluskey’s closest friends
  • Courtney Tanner–Salt Lake Tribune lead reporter on the story
  • Todd Reed–former KTVX/ABC4 (Salt Lake City) news director
  • Diamond Jackson–Lauren McCluskey’s university housing adviser

LISTEN debuts Tuesday, March 28, 7 p.m. ET on ESPN+ and ESPN+ on Hulu. A special two-hour episode of 20/20 “Running Out of Time,” based on ESPN’s Investigation and anchored by David Muir., airs Friday, March 31, at 9 p.m ET on ABC. In addition to the documentary, ESPN says Lauren McCluskey’s story will be explored in an Outside the Lines segment in a future noon ET edition of SportsCenter and in a future episode of the ESPN Daily Podcast.


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Christie Porter
Christie Porterhttps://christieporter.com/
Christie Porter is the managing editor of Salt Lake Magazine. She has worked as a journalist for nearly a decade, writing about everything under the sun, but she really loves writing about nerdy things and the weird stuff. She recently published her first comic book short this year.

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