43 entries categorized "Deseret News"

Links for 2008-07-26


Links for 2007-05-23


Utah's Highway 6 laid waste by truck explosion

Yowza:

CNN.com: Truck of explosives detonates on highway
Truck was 'pretty much vaporized'

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP)—A truck carrying 35,500 pounds of explosives crashed and exploded Wednesday, leaving a huge crater in a Utah highway and injuring at least four people.

The driver was able to get out and warn other motorists away before the truck exploded. But a passenger in the truck cab and other motorists were rushed to hospitals with injuries, Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce said.

Two people were in critical condition, and another was in satisfactory condition at a hospital in Provo, LDS Hospital spokesman Jess Gomez said.

The truck driver, a 30-year-old man, was taken to University of Utah Hospital where he was alert and talking when he arrived, spokesman Chris Nelson said.

It wasn't immediately clear why the truck crashed, Royce said. He said the truck was "pretty much vaporized" in the explosion. And both lanes of Highway 6 in Spanish Fork Canyon, about 60 miles south of Salt Lake City, were gutted by the blast.

J.D. Herbert, a nephew of Utah Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert, said the explosion blew him off his motorcycle. Afterward, he looked up "at a mushroom cloud of fire, and shrapnel just starts falling down," he told KUTV of Salt Lake City.

Several small fires in the hills above the accident scene were believed to have been triggered by flying debris, and nearby rail lines were damaged.

The rig with a 6-foot trailer from R&R Trucking of Missouri had just left commercial explosives maker Ensign-Bickford at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon when the accident happened. The truck was headed to Oklahoma, company officials said.

Officials wouldn't say what type of explosives the truck was carrying.

Hal Jaussi, an Ensign-Bickford manager, said the trucking company "met federal regulations for transporting explosives."
:: • :: • :: • :: • ::

UPDATE 08/11/05 08:00: Deseret Morning News story offers photographs and diagrams and updates the injury count to 10; notes construction crews are already on the scene with the goal of reopening the road by the weekend.

:: • :: • :: • :: • ::

UPDATE 08/15/05 19:00: CBS5.com (San Francisco/Oakland) story offers video clip of the fireball captured by drivers approaching the scene from about half a mile away.

Salt Lake City's KUTV.com story notes that speed definitely played a role in the crash. Crews had the crater filled in within several hours and expected the roadway to reopen Friday morning.

:: • :: • :: • :: • ::

UPDATE 08/16/05 09:00: Salt Lake Tribune editorial: Fix dangerous highway


Late-Wednesday randomness

98011 is the ZIP code for my office. It is also a prime number, I found out just now by way of A9.com.

::—::—::

Utah's official cooking pot is the Dutch oven. I discovered this in The Plates of America, a deseretnews.com article I've quoted below the cut because it includes an amazingly comprehensive listing of the food-related symbols of all the states.

Though in some cases their take on "food-related" is a bit... thick.

::—::—::

There's an Atlas Van Lines tractor-trailer that's now circled the block seven times. I can't imagine anyone would really be moving in at 22:30 and I wonder why the driver and his (at least) two helpers don't stop and knock on a door to ask for directions if they're having trouble finding the address they need, but then again they are men, and we don't ask for help.

Or so I'm repeatedly told by the women in my life.

::—::—::

I spent much of today being annoyed by a dully throbbing and persistent headache which started about half an hour after I woke up as a mild pressure and by 10:30 was pounding away just behind my eyes. By then I'd partaken of a few Advil tablets to no avail; did that a couple more times throughout the day but the damned ache lasted until around 21:00. Now it's been about 90 minutes gone and I'm hoping it doesn't return before I go to bed sometime soon.

::—::—::

Hmm, I thought I had more to say but I've just screeched to a halt, random-thoughts-wise.

Have a good night.

Continue reading "Late-Wednesday randomness" »


Another boy missing in the Utah mountains

Brennan Hawkins, an 11-year-old Boy Scout, went missing over the weekend; still no sign of him.

Salt Lake Tribune article excerpt below the cut. This is another story about which I hadn't planned to post, but the vast numbers of hits I'm getting on searches for "missing boy Utah" or the like lead me to post a link and excerpt so people can find what they want.

UPDATE 10:21: Added a Deseret Morning News story link and excerpt.

UPDATE 13:39: The search effort now has a web site: www.findbrennan.org.

Continue reading "Another boy missing in the Utah mountains" »


Mark Hacking sentenced for murdering his wife

He was sentenced to 6 years to life in prison for shooting Lori Soares to death while she slept and then dumping her body in a trash bin.

Stories and links below the cut from CNN.com, The Salt Lake Tribune, and Deseret Morning News; also the Soares family statement from the Trib.

Continue reading "Mark Hacking sentenced for murdering his wife" »


Famed Salt Lake City theatre to become rug shop

I remember the Villa Theatre from my childhood. I saw several movies there over the years I was in Salt Lake City and even though I never really liked its enormous curved screen, the theatre itself was pretty neat. It was huge and high-ceilinged and the annoying curved screen seemed to span the horizon.

Now it'll be a rug shop, as this article from today's Deseret Morning News attests:

Continue reading "Famed Salt Lake City theatre to become rug shop" »


Hazardous-materials spill in Salt Lake City

Links to the several articles I've seen about the spill which was discovered early Sunday morning. Hazmat crews experienced hours of confusion and frustration as varying sources disagreed over the exact content of the leaking rail car, and at least 6,000 residents of nearby neighborhoods were evacuated when an orange plume of fumes arose from the site. The spill also forced closure of I-15, the main north-south arterial, for most of the day.

Article links below the cut.

Continue reading "Hazardous-materials spill in Salt Lake City" »


Marine 'hostage' to be charged with desertion

Interesting to me that KSL 1160, the Salt Lake City news/talk radio station I keep tuned in the car for the drives to and from work, made no mention of this story during their repeated-every-10-minutes news blips as I was on my way home about 40 minutes ago. When the Marine disappeared and before he turned up safe, it was all the broadcast media around here could talk about most days.

The Salt Lake Tribune put up their story (new window) before 16:00; nothing on the Deseret News site as I publish this posting.

CNN's entire story below the cut.

Continue reading "Marine 'hostage' to be charged with desertion" »


Store returns approved and denied like credit-card transactions?

Deseret Morning News: Retailers say 'no' to serial exchangers

Technology helps stores crack down on fraudulent returns but irks some consumers

By Stephanie Kang
The Wall Street Journal

As the holiday shopping season begins, retailers are deploying new technology designed to crack down on one of the industry's biggest frustrations—customers who abuse return and exchange policies.

NO RETURNSRetailers such as Guess Inc., Staples Inc., Sports Authority Inc. and Limited Brands Inc. are among those using software called Verify-1, a product of Return Exchange, based in Irvine, Calif. The closely held company helps retailers decide whether to deny returns or exchanges using a program that monitors a shopper's track record of bringing items back.

Such tactics are raising the ire of shoppers and privacy-rights groups who say the new technology is often an unnecessary and intrusive violation of consumer rights.

Retailers say they are on the lookout for various forms of fraud, including "serial wardrobers" who buy an outfit, wear it once or twice and return it; shoplifters who return stolen merchandise; employees who steal items and return them for cash; price switchers, who change price tags on items, then return one item for the higher amount; and shoppers who use fake or old receipts when making a return.

Return Exchange's Verify-1 system works like this: When a customer wants to return an item, the sales clerk asks for his or her driver's license or other form of state-issued identification, and swipes it into a machine much like those used to make credit card or ATM purchases. The shopper's name, address and birthdate is logged into a database. The program records details about the transaction, such as the store number, the amount of the return, the date, time and item description.

All that information is stored on Return Exchange's server in Santa Ana, Calif. Most transactions end there. But if a customer's "return behavior" seems out of the ordinary, the transaction is rejected and the consumer is given a receipt that instructs him or her to call the company's toll-free number for a copy of a report detailing their return activity. Shoppers can also request that Return Exchange investigate the rejected return. The program keeps tallies of the type of transactions, the total amount of the returns and the number of exchanges.

The company says the data are available only to Return Exchange, the customer and executives at the retailer. Other personal information, such as a shopper's physical characteristics, is not recorded.

I remember when I worked at Kmart in the late 1980s to mid-90s and we used driver licenses to try to recognize fraudulent returns. We'd type the license number into the register system and it would track the total number of returns by a customer, eventually denying returns based on some sort of total-transactions criterion about which we never got details.

I only saw two returns get declined. In both cases, the customers were well known to us as serial-return problem children, but in neither case did we have anyone freak out at us about it. Usually the only freak-outs were customers whose credit cards were declined when they tried to make purchases, and they didn't understand how the electronic authorizations worked.

Thank God I'm long since out of retail.

(Except of course for this stint at the hospital gift shop. ::twitch::)


Deseret Morning News: No kidding, Utahn revels in big family

MarDee Clark has 19 children.

Not 19 by way of a Brady Bunch arrangement or adoption, but 19, as in take a deep breath and push.

That's 19, as in 19 trips to the hospital. As in 171 months of pregnancy. As in three more and she could field her own football team, offense and defense.

MarDee is the Barry Bonds of mothers. Married at 21, she had 19 babies in 21 years. All but one of them weighed at least 8 pounds, and several of them weighed 9 and 10 pounds. They range in age from 29 to 8 years old.

She's 51 now and raising them alone. She and her husband, Floyd, split up.

MarDee and Floyd had always planned to have a large family. They decided they wanted an even dozen kids.

"I've always known since I was a young girl that I wanted lots of children," she says.

When they got to 12, well, "I just knew there was more, so we just kept having them."

She can name every one of them—if you give her a minute.

"Let's see," she begins, "there's Christina, Yvette, Stephen, Conner, Evan, Ethan... um, let's see, I have to say them in order so...." (At this point, she pauses to think a moment and then starts over again with the first child and works her way back to where she left off.)... "Bridget, Brian, Ileana, David, Danielle, Jason, Darlene, Cullen, Deborah (twins), Donovan, Forrest, Amber and Shannon!"

She pauses to catch her breath.

"Yes, I have trouble remembering names," she says, laughing. "Sometimes I have to try four or five times till I get the right one."

[...]

There are so many problems with this.

"MarDee"? I've seen some typical Utah names in the past, but I think that may be the most obviously-a-Utah-native name I've ever encountered.

Then there's the 19 children. That's just beyond my comprehension. Before this article, the largest family I knew about was the one that lived next door when we were kids. They had 13, but only six were their own; the others were adopted. It was amusing/horrifying to watch them go to the grocery store—when they returned, they'd set up a human chain to get the couple dozen gallons of milk, the 20 or so loaves of bread, the endless boxes of cereal, the 50-pound bags of flour and sugar and salt from their 15-passenger van (!) to the house.

And finally, this quote from the story:

When they got to 12, well, "I just knew there was more, so we just kept having them."

I can't even put the mixed fascination and horror into words.


Deseret Morning News: No more 'accidents' on Utah roads

Nutshell version: They won't refer to collisions as "accidents" anymore. They'll be called "crashes" under the theory that there are no such things as accidents—there's always some preventable mistake that leads to highway crashes. There's a flaw in this argument, however: They're discounting crashes caused by unforeseen mechanical failures, unless they're also considering the potential loss of control after a tire blowout a "preventable mistake." For that matter, they're also assuming all drivers are expert enough to be able to dodge a deer that leaps into the road 100 feet ahead of the vehicle.

I'm all for consistent terminology, and the word "accident" has always struck me as something of a silly euphemism, but come on: Changing the word you use to describe an event is supposed to be an effective method of reducing the frequency of that event?

When I first moved to Seattle in 2002, the local radio stations were going through this same flap, trying to get their traffic reporters to stop referring to "accidents" and call them "crashes." The Washington State Patrol was encouraging the terminology change as a highway-safety measure along the sames lines of the UHP's effort.

Gotta love law-enforcement logic.

Entire story below the cut.

Continue reading "Deseret Morning News: No more 'accidents' on Utah roads" »


Salt Lake papers' stories on discovery of Lori Hacking's remains

Links only for now; I'll include story quotations later.

Deseret Morning News:

Salt Lake Tribune:


Deseret Morning News: BYU newspaper yanks T-shirt ad

Some detect a desire to sin in 'I can't... I'm Mormon'

PROVO—Managers of the student newspaper at Brigham Young University pulled an advertisement after numerous complaints that it was too offensive for the conservative campus.

Chad Ramos, 'I Can't... I'm Mormon' T-shirt designer
Chad Ramos, who capitalizes on "Mormon speak" in order to sell T-shirts, is surprised—but not particularly disappointed—at the furor at BYU over his "I can't" T-shirts. (Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News)
The ad campaign began at the start of the month and sparked a big stir over a T-shirt with a simple phrase—"I Can't... I'm Mormon."

Students, professors and administrators felt the slogan implied wearers wished they could drink, smoke or have casual sex but were prevented only because they are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

One letter to the editor in the student paper was particularly sarcastic: "I can't, I'm Mormon, but if I wasn't, you know I'd be there 'cause it sounds sweet!"

Many also felt the female modeling the shirt in the ad struck an overly provocative pose.

Both objections surprised the shirt's creator, Utah Valley State College student Chad Ramos. He grew up in Las Vegas and said the phrase served him well when peers asked him to drink or smoke while he went to high school in an area with a large LDS population.

"I found if I told people I didn't drink, they didn't know how to react," he said, "but if I said, I can't, I'm Mormon, they said, 'Oh,' and boom, it was over."

One of the things I truly I adore about living in Utah is the occasional hilariously uptight reactions of LDS Church members to innocuous phenomena.

Best part: They don't even realize they're giving the T-shirt credence by their reactions.


Revelations among the Sunday news whoring

The couple of local news stories I found post-worthy today came from the Deseret Morning News.

I used to consider the D-News the less worthy of the two Salt Lake City newspapers. This is largely because with a name like “Deseret News,” I figured the paper would always experience improper influence from the LDS Church. However, in the few months I’ve been back in Salt Lake and have been reading both papers fairly regularly, I must say I prefer the Deseret News’ coverage of most events.

For one thing, the D-News’ reporters tend actually to ask pertinent questions of their sources as they’re putting together stories, so the stories have useful information in them. There’s also less of the If I were to subscribe to daily delivery of a Salt Lake paper, it’d be—I never thought I’d say this—the Deseret Morning News.tendency to go for the weepy angle in stories—although the recent Lori Hacking coverage was a bit on the heavy-handed, “we’ll tell you what your emotions are” side in the D-News’ later stories, it was pretty well balanced over its entire course, and by the time the stories got more weepy, that was the story anyway. The same is true of the later coverage in the Garrett Bardsley disappearance, but again that’s the story now, and the coverage has been tasteful without being intrusive or manipulative.

Ultimately, however, the Deseret News is simply a better-edited paper. I’ve spotted a few typos here and there, certainly—try creating a from-scratch publication every single day and see if you manage to avoid all typographical errors; it’s a gargantuan task no matter how many copy editors you sic on it each time—but the writing is better and the editors appear actually to read the stories they’re editing.

Furthermore, the online edition of the D-News isn’t an afterthought, unlike the Salt Lake Tribune’s horrible online edition. The Deseret News’ online edition leaves some things to be desired—every newspaper’s electronic edition is like this—but it’s not put together from the first round of electronic proofs the way the Trib’s online editions seem to be, so fewer errors appear overall anyway.

If I were to subscribe to daily delivery of a Salt Lake paper, it’d be—I never thought I’d say this—the Deseret Morning News.


Tribune mocks rival paper's spelling prowess amid Trib's usual editing foolishness

In the Culture Vulture column in today's Salt Lake Tribune, Brandon Griggs includes a brief about a series of spelling errors in a recent Deseret Morning News article:

Spell-check, anyone? We're not in the habit of poking fun at our rival paper, but a recent flub in the Deseret Morning News was too good to ignore. In a story on celebrity-signed guitars donated to a Huntsman Cancer Institute fund-raiser, a list of recording artists was filled with outrageously mangled names: Peter Frampton somehow turned into "Peter Formatting," Styx became "Stags," Sarah McLachlan morphed into "Sarah Michoacan," the Doobie Brothers switched sexes to become the "Debbie Brothers" and Fleetwood Mac became, oops, "Faltered Mac."

In a correction last Wednesday, the newspaper blamed the misspellings on an editing mistake. Yeah, like maybe someone overdid it with the spell-check button???

We here at the Trib aren't the greatest spellers either, but we know Brittknee Speerz and the Grate Full Ded when we see them.

I found this highly amusing, because in my earlier post about Mark Hacking's court appearance, I made several fixes to satisfy my own need for correctness.

Not the same level as spelling errors, perhaps, but I'm reminded of the adage: People who live in glass houses....


Deseret Morning News: Hundreds celebrate Lori's life

OREM—On the day she went home with her adoptive family, Lori Kay Soares wore a little pink dress, a white-lace bonnet and clutched a pink-and-white stuffed rabbit. She was 3 months old and her constant companion was a pacifier.

Thelma Soares, center, walks with nieces Jane, left, and Kathy Black at a service for Lori Hacking at an LDS stake center in Orem Saturday. (Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News)
Thelma Soares, center, walks with nieces Jane, left, and Kathy Black at a service for Lori Hacking at an LDS stake center in Orem Saturday.
Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News
At age 4, as a church receipt shows, Lori tithed a penny for each year of her life and gave it faithfully.

As she grew she played on baseball teams, went to school dances and traveled the country, sometimes spontaneously, like the night she took a red-eye flight to New York City just to spend her New Year's Eve birthday in Times Square. In college, she served as a congressional intern in Washington, D.C., before graduating with honors from the University of Utah. Then she married her high school sweetheart, Mark, and became Lori Hacking.

Saturday, those moments from Lori Hacking's life were celebrated and memorialized in pictures, words and music by friends and family at the Windsor LDS Stake Center in Orem.

Lori Hacking was apparently killed sometime the morning of July 19, shot while she slept in her Salt Lake apartment. She was 27.

Her husband, Mark Hacking, 28, is accused of the crime and his been charged with first-degree felony murder for allegedly shooting his wife and then leaving her body in a Dumpster near the U. Her body has not been found.

Mark Hacking is in the Salt Lake County Jail being held on $1 million bail and was not at the service. The rest of his family, however, did attend, with his father, Douglas Hacking, offering the invocation.

"We've all been touched by her in some way, and we appreciate the time she has been here on this earth," Douglas Hacking said during the prayer, momentarily looking down from the podium at Thelma and Eraldo Soares, Lori's parents, who were sitting side by side in the first pew.

Tiffany Carpenter with brother Lance Hacking and his wife, Stephanie. (Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News)
Tiffany Carpenter with brother Lance Hacking and his wife, Stephanie.
Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News
"I knew Lori after she lost the pacifier and put on the spark," said Jack Christianson, whose daughter, Rebecca, was one of Lori's closest high school friends. "She really outgrew the pacifier—she was a little spitfire. She was so funny. She'd let you know how she felt. And as some have said today, I don't think she'd want to be deified.

"She wasn't perfect, but she was working on it, just like the rest of us."

Lori would indeed have been uncomfortable with the fuss made over her life Saturday, her brother Paul Soares said. The thousands who searched for her in the days after she was reported missing and the hundreds who packed the LDS meetinghouse to pay their respects would have puzzled her as well.

"She was very private. She was one who kept everything inside of her, but she was very conscious of others' feelings," Paul Soares said. "She was someone who cared about others."

Recounting a day they spent together in Washington, D.C., Soares relished his sister's zest for life, her love of travel and adventure, her dedication to school, her kindness and compassion.

"I had such pride and joy in knowing she was my little sister," he said.

Saturday's service was incomplete only in that police have yet to recover Lori's remains. Thus a "memorial service," as her family is as yet unable to hold a funeral and burial.

Police searched a Salt Lake landfill a dozen times—including overnight Friday and Saturday—but have yet to locate Lori's body or the .22-caliber rifle they believe was used in the killing.

Searches by police using search dogs will "continue until it's finished," Salt Lake City police detective Dwayne Baird said outside the chapel on Saturday.

"We have lots of material to go through out there at the landfill, and we're just doing it as best as we can, making sure that we don't leave anything unturned."

Baird said he attended the service because he had come to know both the Soares and Hacking families well over the past month. "We don't have any schedule where we say that it's over in any given time frame. It will be a situation where we continue ... until we find her."

Police remain confident they are searching in the right location, Baird added. About 4,200 tons of garbage was dumped at the landfill on July 19 and, as of several days ago, police had sorted through only a fraction of that. He said he was not at liberty to discuss possible contingency plans.

If Mark Hacking indeed killed his wife, as prosecutors say and as Mark himself has allegedly confessed to his brothers Lance and Scott, then it might seem strange that his family has remained so closely tied to Lori's family or that Douglas Hacking would be asked to pray at his daughter-in-law's memorial.

But there is no blaming or bitterness between the Soares and the Hacking families, Christianson said after the service.

"Both families have a deep religious conviction that they share," he said making reference to the fact that both families are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "We teach forgiveness and we teach love."

Douglas and Janet Hacking attend services for Lori Hacking Saturday. (Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News)
Douglas and Janet Hacking attend services for Lori Hacking Saturday.
Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News
Both Christianson and Windsor LDS Stake President Scott Dunaway touched on the idea of forgiveness in their memorial service remarks.

"The world has been in awe of the love and compassion you have shown for one another," said Dunaway, who served as a spokesman for both families during the past few weeks. "What an example of living the gospel of Jesus Christ."

In the days since Lori was reported missing, the nation has watched and wept along with the families, Dunaway noted.

"I think for all of us Lori has become a daughter, a sister, a daughter-in-law, a granddaughter, a niece," he said. "We feel something of the hurt that these families feel in her loss."

Also during the service, a letter expressing condolences from the LDS Church First Presidency was read to the families. Elder W. Grant Bangerter, an emeritus member of the Quorum of the Seventy, also spoke.

Deseret Morning News: Grief, anger, love fill mother's heart

Copyright 2004 Deseret Morning News

OREM—It was the Thursday after Lori Hacking was reported missing and Thelma Soares, Lori's mother, had gone to the hospital to see her son-in-law, Mark.

At the time it seemed that Mark Hacking had collapsed with grief over the disappearance of his newly pregnant wife. He was undergoing psychological testing at the University of Utah Medical Center and had been incoherent when Soares first visited two days before.

Miles away, volunteers were combing the hillsides above City Creek Canyon and nearby neighborhoods looking for any trace of Lori, the girl with the wide smile and the cascade of curly brown hair.

But a day earlier, police had revealed that Mark Hacking had lied about his plans to attend medical school in North Carolina, and there was growing suspicion about whether his pretty wife would be found.

Mark was standing with a blanket wrapped around his shoulders when Soares entered the room.

"I hugged him and said, 'Marky, didn't you know my love was not conditional on your becoming a doctor? It was because of you, Mark, and how you treated Lori,'" Soares said in an interview with the Deseret Morning News. "And he kind of sobbed ... and he looked me straight in the eye and said, "I promise, I promise I had nothing to do with it.'

"I desperately wanted to believe him," Soares goes on. "But I didn't. I had this uneasy feeling. I did desperately want to, because I love him ... , but I just knew he wasn't telling the truth."

'A sweet baby'
Lori became Soares' adoptive daughter on April 21, 1977. The wait for Lori was at least two years. Soares can't remember exactly but said that she and her then-husband, Eraldo Soares, had first inquired about the adoption when their first child, Paul, who is also adopted, was about 4. Paul was 7 when Lori came home.

"I can't remember who picked her up first; it was probably me," Soares said. "She was such a sweet baby. She had this hair from the beginning. It was dark and curly and grew really fast. When we'd walk in the mall with her everyone would say they had to stop and look at the baby with all the hair. Finally I had to cut it because it was too thick and too curly, even to part it, and she cried."

Soares still has remnants of that first haircut, a long brown braid in an envelope that bears Lori's name.

In fact, Soares has safeguarded many keepsakes from her daughter's life. Lori's pictures, awards, dolls and other mementos were on display Saturday at the memorial service for the former stockbroker's assistant, held at the Windsor LDS Stake Center in Orem. In one corner were her tiny brown rocking chair, stuffed animals and childhood books, in the other her beaded wedding dress.

Lori Hacking is believed to have been killed July 19 while asleep in the Salt Lake apartment she shared with her husband.

Prosecutors have charged Mark Hacking with first-degree murder in connection with his wife's death. In an alleged confession to his older brothers, Mark Hacking said he shot his wife with a .22-caliber rifle and then abandoned her body in a Dumpster, the contents of which were taken to the Salt Lake County landfill. Her body has not been found.

"She's on the cover. She's on the latest edition of People magazine, sister," Thelma Soares is saying to the woman on the other end of the telephone as she shakes her head and breaks into tears. "Lori's picture is on the cover."

The words sound like both a statement and a question.

'The Mark I know'
At the moment, Soares says, she has many questions.

"The best news I could get is that (Mark) has a brain tumor or brain injury or something that would make him do this. I'm just really speechless; I have no way to explain it," she said: "Unless he's this evil guy. ... He was helpful. A generous spirit. He seemed to care about people. He came and put all of my Christmas lights up every year. This is the Mark that I know, not this Mark who killed her and did this horrible thing."

The Mark Hacking who started buzzing around Lori Soares in high school was always a big teddy bear of a guy. He'd bang on the front door each time he'd call for Lori. On her birthday one year, Mark and another friend filled Lori's bedroom with balloons and silly string.

He was a polite boy from a good family who once wrote Soares a note that read: "If I didn't have my own mother, I'd choose you to be my mother."

"Maybe he was schmoozing because he wanted Lori," Soares ponders. "But maybe not."

The coffee table in the living room of Soares' Orem home is covered with sympathy cards and vases of flowers. Outside, the tan siding is dotted with yellow ribbons tied in bows. On the front door, a polite note reads, "Thelma is resting," and begs the visitor to respect the 66-year-old woman's privacy.

Soares is grieving but somehow seems calm as she pads around house in her bare feet, her toenails painted bright pink.

When she speaks of Lori, she glows.

"We kept an orthodontist in business for several years. She was beautiful," Soares says and then begins to tick off the list of Lori's accomplishments.

An award from a kindergarten teacher for best bookmark. In sixth grade, Lori's first full school year in Utah after her parents divorced and she and Thelma moved here from Fullerton, Calif., she was a finalist for the Hope of America award. She was also elected president of her ninth-grade class.

Lori excelled in other arenas as well. She played piano and took ballet lessons. She loved to swim and Rollerblade. She took up running later after marrying Mark, Soares said.

From an early age, Lori had plenty of determination and specific goals. For a while, she even set her sights on attending Stanford University.

"She couldn't understand why anybody wouldn't want to go to college. That was always part of her plan," Soares said. "She said, 'I want to be independent like you are so that if anything happens I'll be able to take care of myself.'"

Weber State University was Lori's first collegiate destination, but after a year, she transferred to the University of Utah, Soares said.

'Web of lies'
There were plenty of young men to choose from, but Lori seemed to have her heart set on Mark, whom she had met on a high school trip to Lake Powell. From the first she said she was comfortable with Mark. They could talk about anything.

Married on Aug. 7, 1999, Lori and Mark seemed like the happiest of couples, Soares said. They supported each other's interests, alternately going to the Broadway-type theater productions Lori enjoyed and taking camping trips in Utah's wilderness, which was Mark's love.

"They did that in their marriage," Soares said, adding that Mark was the more demonstrative of the two, but that the couple was affectionate. "It wasn't perfect, you know, and maybe sometimes she would be the one to raise her voice, but she loved him. If ever there was anything that I would wonder about Mark, she would defend him."

If Lori had ever learned about Mark's now well-known deceptions or failures—like his LDS mission that was cut short, or the lies about his college graduation and medical school acceptance—she never let on, Soares said. She believes her daughter would have been devastated by such lies.

"I don't think Lori ever told a lie in her life," Soares said.

But it seems Mark Hacking told more than a few, the extent of which might not yet be known. Court documents released Friday show police are looking at cell phone, computer and bank records in trying to establish a case, all of which could lead to new information and insights.

"This elaborate web of lies, that takes a lot of thinking to do that. It wasn't that he lacked the intellect, he was always very smart," Soares said, adding that she wonders if Mark's actions might be traced to a fall he took from a roof about eight years ago while working a construction job. Mark, she said, apparently hit his head on a cement floor during the fall.

"As I sit here trying to make some semblance of sense of this, it's the only thing I could come up with," Soares said. "It's hard for me to believe that he's this evil because the Mark I know is just the opposite of that. All of my interaction and experience with him says it's not so. He's this sweet, gentle, quiet, funny guy."

'I do want justice'
Still, Thelma Soares is angry.

"I am angry at what he did to her, and that he left her to rot in this terrible place," she said. "And you know, there are moments when I just want to tear his heart out with my bare hands, but what good would it do?"

That prosecutors didn't charge Mark with a capital crime is all right with Soares.

"I don't want to be the person that sends him to the death chamber," she said. "I do want justice. He needs to pay for what he did to Lori. If that means a life sentence, that's fine with me."

No one should ever think that Mark's actions have divided Soares and any other member of the Hacking family, she is quick to add. The families have remained close in the weeks since Lori disappeared, and Mark's father, Douglas Hacking, said the opening prayer at Lori's memorial service Saturday.

With Mark's future in the hands of the judicial system—a court hearing is scheduled for Monday—Soares is filled with compassion for his parents, Douglas and Janet.

"As anguished and heartbroken as I am about Lori, I think they are facing a more difficult future than I am, because he's their son. You can't turn your love off and on like a faucet," Soares said. "I'm sure the Hackings would give their life for Mark. He's their child, and they still love him."

Soares is finding comfort in her religious convictions and says she is certain that Lori is at peace. She also hopes that time in prison might give Mark time to repent his crimes.

"In my way of belief, what he did was about as bad as it gets. He took two lives, and if he doesn't repent of this then his eternal future looks pretty bleak," said Soares. "I hope that isn't the case because there is good in Mark. Somewhere down in there, there's this person that I knew and and have known and loved like a son.

"There's man's law and there's God's law, and those are quite often two different things," she adds. "I have no doubt in my mind and in my heart that he will receive the judgment from God that he deserves."

I'm past the point of offering any commentary on the articles related to this case. My main purpose is to have an archive of the content separate from its original source; many of the newspapers' archives require paid access for anything older than 30 days, so this site will function as a free-access archive for at least excerpts of the stories.


Deseret Morning News: 'We love him no matter what'

Family visits Hacking in jail; more court documents released

SOUTH SALT LAKE—It's been nearly two weeks since Lance Hacking last saw his brother Mark. It was Aug. 2, the day Mark Hacking was arrested for allegedly killing his wife—a crime his family says Mark confessed to his brothers, who then took that information to police.

Lance Hacking leaves the Salt Lake County Jail with his wife, Stephanie, and Wyatt, their baby (Tom Smart, Deseret Morning News)
Lance Hacking leaves the Salt Lake County Jail with his wife, Stephanie, and Wyatt, their baby
Tom Smart, Deseret Morning News
Friday night, Lance Hacking went to the Salt Lake County Jail for a visit with Mark, one day after their parents, Janet and Douglas Hacking, had visited.

He wanted, Lance Hacking said, to let Mark know that he is still loved and that the shared decision he and brother Scott Hacking had made to reveal Mark's confession was intended as an act of love.

"He understood that we acted out of choosing what we felt was the right thing to do and he understands that we felt that our actions were also guided toward helping him heal," Lance Hacking said after a 30-minute visit with Mark. "Scott and I still believe that and our family still believes that, and I think that Mark also believes that we acted out of love."

Meanwhile, court documents released Friday offer a glimpse into how prosecutors are building their case against Mark Hacking. The documents show that through subpoenas police obtained computer, cell phone, bank and credit card records for the couple, in particular for activity during the time period after July 19, when Lori was reported missing.

Mark Hacking is charged with first-degree criminal homicide and three counts of obstruction of justice in 3rd District Court. Bail is set at $1 million. Under jail guidelines, he is allowed two 30-minute visits each week, the first of which was Thursday with his parents.

Mark Hacking is accused of shooting his wife, Lori, in the head with a .22-caliber rifle as she slept during the early morning hours of July 19. He then allegedly put her body in a Dumpster near the University of Utah.

Salt Lake City police were back at the Salt Lake landfill for the 11th time Friday night looking for Lori's body. So far, nothing of consequence has been found, police detective Kevin Joiner said Friday.

A memorial service for Lori Soares Hacking is planned for 11 a.m. today in Orem.

"I think it will help with a little bit of closure to help us feel we can really honor Lori," said Stephanie Hacking, Lance's wife, who came to the jail with her husband and 9-month-old son Wyatt.

Visiting the jail was a somber experience, Stephanie Hacking said, but the couple tried to keep the conversation focused on family and not on the criminal charges or court actions ahead.

"Our main goal is to let him know that our family is still here and that we absolutely love him and we are doing every thing we can to support him," Lance Hacking said. "As far as the case and everything go, we are content and happy to leave that with the judicial system and let that run its course. In the meantime, we will stand by him as a brother, and we will love him no matter what."

Lance Hacking said that the days since July 19 have been some of the most difficult his family has experienced, and those feelings are complicated by what the family feels is the double loss of Mark and Lori.

What Mark Hacking is now going through, "weighs heavy on our hearts as well," Lance Hacking said.

"There are certainly things that he has lied about which we didn't know about, but in terms of who Mark actually is on the inside, I still feel like we know him and love him," Lance Hacking said.

The family didn't pray together during their short visit, but Mark did express to his brother and sister-in-law that he had been engaged in prayer.

"I imagine he has a lot to pray about," Lance Hacking said.

Court records released Friday offered new insights into the investigation:
  • They indicate that police are investigating a Dallas-based phone number, which is somehow linked to the arrests of three Dallas residents who allegedly called that number and then used a stolen credit card to purchase airline tickets. Mark Hacking apparently called that same telephone number, but court documents do not establish any link between Hacking and the three people.

    The number, which the Deseret Morning News dialed Friday, is now disconnected, but was last registered to a Dallas woman.

  • Court records also confirm for the first time that police found a blood-stained mattress in the Dumpster at a church meetinghouse about one block from the Hacking's apartment, 127 S. Lincoln St. (945 East). Credit card records have already indicated that Mark Hacking purchased a new mattress from a South Salt Lake store 30 minutes after he first reported his wife missing to police.

  • Also confirmed by the affidavits is seizure of digitally recorded surveillance tapes from the University Neuropsychiatric Unit that apparently show Mark Hacking dumping an object into a trash bin behind the facility. Police are looking specifically at recordings made between midnight and noon on July 19.

  • Similarly, video images have also been obtained from a local convenience store, where both Mark and Lori were seen the Sunday night prior to her death, and where Mark returned about 1 a.m. for a pack of cigarettes. Additional surveillance tape was sought from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where cameras near Temple Square point toward roads that access Memory Grove, the location Mark had originally told police Lori had gone for a morning run.

Deseret Morning News: Hundreds 'sign' Lori's guest book

Hundreds and hundreds of people from around the world have posted messages to the electronic guest book for Lori Hacking on the Deseret Morning News Web site. By Thursday, the postings already had filled 75 pages.

Below are some of the messages. To view all of them, or to post your own message, view the guest book for Lori Kay Soares Hacking.

  • My heart goes out to the Soares family. I am deeply moved by your tragic circumstances. I understand the loss and wish you Godspeed. I know that Lori will watch over you and keep you moving forward. I remember the saying "There, but for the grace of God, go I."—Patricia Middleton (Marysville, Wash.)

  • I just want to say that your story has touched me. I am so sorry to hear of your loss of a daughter and I want you to know that you are all in our prayers and thoughts. My 7-year-old has seen what has happened and drew a picture for her and said a prayer for her as well.—Cher Atkinson (Forest Grove, Ore.)

  • Lor, I miss you so much. I'm so glad we got to see each other one last time. As always, you're on to bigger and better things.—Holly (Orem)

  • Tennessee is praying for your entire family. God bless each of you.—Ginger Wyatt (Knoxville, Tenn.)

  • I lost my daughter 11 months ago. I really know what you are going through. The days will be hard, but the memories do help. Just remember the good times and fun times.—Marcia (Antioch, Calif.)

  • I am so sorry for the loss of Lori Hacking. Though my husband and I never knew her, we have been following this case since it began and we feel like she was family as we mourn her loss as well. Our heartfelt sympathies to all and may God bless your family.—Carrie Steadman (Taylorsville)

  • To the Lori Hacking Family: I know that no words can comfort you at this extremely difficult time. However, please know that you have been in the thoughts and prayers of people throughout the world. Without even knowing Lori, you can tell by her beauty and her smile what a special person she is. God bless you and your family.—Tiffanie Northrup (Henefer, Morgan County)

  • Please know that this lovely young woman has touched people all over the country. I hope that the gift of Lori will sustain you with strength and courage. We all mourn with you.—Lisa M. (Minnesota)

  • Dear Soareses and Hackings, if any good can come from this tragedy, maybe it's that so many people have been impressed with the support and unity you two families have displayed. Others facing difficult situations will remember your example. Your message is one of peace and grace. Thank you. Our hearts are with you.—Jennie Hurlbut (Orem)

  • Lori has become every mother's child. Your nightmare has become our nightmare. We honor your strength and dedication. May God bless your family and hold Lori close until you are able to do so once again.—Cindy (Mississippi)

  • Although I understand the loss of someone too soon, I cannot imagine what it would be like to lose that person in such a tragic way. Both families are in my prayers daily. I appreciate the depths of the faith shown by the entire Soares and Hacking families.—Robin Burns (Fayetteville, Tenn.)

  • May God bless you all. I am so sorry about the loss of Lori. I pray that you can be comforted by the spirit at this time.—Donna Watson (Hobart, Australia)

  • When my only daughter was 16 years old, she was so very sick we were afraid we would lose her. It was Dr. Hacking who saved her life through his diagnosis and medical care. Thelma, I can't imagine your pain at the loss of your beautiful Lori. I only wish I could take away your pain if for only a day. You all have been an inspiration to millions of people you have touched through your courage and strength.—Anonymous (Utah)

Deseret Morning News: Hacking saga stirs memories for Idaho pair

Their daughter was slain by man hired by spouse

ABERDEEN, Idaho—Andrea and Gary Myler know the searing pain of betrayal upon having a son-in-law accused of murdering his wife. They have been there.

As they watch the unfolding story of Mark Hacking and the alleged murder of his wife, Lori, the Mylers find themselves taken back eight years to another Utah case of a husband who wanted his wife dead.

On Aug. 28, 1996, 24-year-old Jill Allen was murdered in her North Salt Lake apartment by one of two construction workers who later testified that they were offered up to $40,000 by her husband, Paul Allen, to have her killed. More than three years after her death, a jury found Paul Allen guilty of murder and sentenced him to life in prison with the possibility of parole, sparing him punishment for capital murder.

Sitting under an apple tree outside their rural Idaho home, a tree that provided shade to Jill and others during family get-togethers, Gary and Andrea Myler offer some advice to the parents of Lori Hacking: Turn to your faith to pull you through, find support in your family and never let the "What-ifs?" take over.

Stepfather Gary Myler, who raised Jill, said Lori Hacking's parents should be prepared to make this murder case a constant part of their lives for at least the next decade. After eight years the Mylers still are involved in Paul Allen's appeal for a new trial.

Paul Allen has maintained his innocence, and his family has stood by him. Attorneys for Paul Allen recently filed briefs with the Utah Supreme Court asking for a new trial.

"It's definitely going to be a roller coaster for them as they go through the trial. I see them watching this boy try to prove that he's insane some way with the defense," Gary Myler said.

"One thing they need to realize is that it's going to take a long time. Our justice system is very slow, and they seem to give the accused every opportunity to get away with it. Our justice system bends over backwards to see that their rights are not infringed upon, and that's going to irritate them," Andrea Myler said.

Construction worker Joseph Wright testified that Paul Allen approached him to find someone to kill his wife. Wright then recruited his friend George Anthony Taylor to do the job. The two testified that Paul Allen had supplied them a key to his North Salt Lake apartment with instructions that the murder was to look like a robbery.

Davis County prosecutors claimed Paul Allen hoped to collect on a $250,000 life insurance policy he had on his wife.

In tearful testimony, Taylor described how he waited inside the dark apartment for his victim to come home from work. After breaking his gun while pistol-whipping her, Taylor said he resorted to beating her in the head with a baseball bat. But Jill kept fighting, he said. Finally he strangled her with a belt.

Returning from a boat trip, Paul Allen found his wife beaten beyond recognition.

Andrea Myler said she still remembers offering her shoulder to her son-in-law to cry on at her daughter's funeral.

She also felt that something was not right. Andrea Myler said she spent a lot of time time comforting Paul Allen but got no sympathy or support in return.

"I'd call and talk to him and I said, 'How are you doing?' and he said, 'You know, every day gets a little better,' and I said, 'You're kidding, for me every day is worse.' "

By the time police arrested Allen for his wife's murder a year later, Andrea Myler said her family wasn't surprised but remained in a state of disbelief.

"To our family, Paul appeared to be such a good guy, and people would say, 'Didn't you see any of this coming?' . . . No, they are so deceitful and are so good at covering it up; so good at making themselves appear good that you don't see it coming," she said. "It's the last thing in the world that you think that they would murder. You think that the marriage is just going to break up."

Gary Myler said he has been haunted by "What-ifs?": What if they had called earlier; what if they missed early signs. "It goes on in your mind, over and over again. You need to think about something else, you need to talk to people about it. Because if you don't, it'll cave the sides of your head in," he said.

Ultimately, it was their faith that saw them through all the threats of a mistrial to delays in the case.

"Through all these little mazes traveled by attorneys, it finally gets down to your own heart and mind. The Lord is still over this," Gary Myler said.

Andrea said Lori Hacking's mother should never let up in pushing detectives and prosecutors about advances in the case. And she warned that the press and the public are going to judge Lori's character by the actions of her family members.

Forgiveness will also come into play in the Hacking case.

"In a way you have to come to a certain level of forgiveness, or understanding," Gary Myler said. "If you let it destroy you from the inside out, your hatred and everything you build up toward them, it will destroy you."

Lori Hacking stories for Sat 08/07/04 and Sun 08/08/04

Only the Deseret Morning News has had any worthwhile content related to the Lori Hacking case this weekend. I've included four stories, listed by the dates they appeared in the online edition.

This is a pretty lengthy post. Usually I excerpt longer stories, but in this case I've included the entire content (with many photos) from two stories. Please be patient while the page loads if you decide to continue reading.

Continue reading "Lori Hacking stories for Sat 08/07/04 and Sun 08/08/04" »


Mark Hacking arrested on charge of aggravated murder

For now, only links to the stories—it's still in the "breaking news" stage.

UPDATE 12:46: The Salt Lake Tribune's site has always been notoriously weak during peak-load times, and today's no exception. The story I link above is not available right now as they attempt to institute some sort of backup plan.

No updates at the Deseret Morning News yet.

UPDATE 12:50: The Trib's story is available again and has more detail than the brief "arrest made, check back for details" statement it showed originally.


Deseret Morning News: Search now 'unnecessary,' say families of Lori Hacking

Mark Hacking told his family something important Saturday—and whatever it is, it apparently makes any further volunteer searches for his missing 27-year-old wife unnecessary.

That news came late Saturday, not from Salt Lake City police but by way of a statement faxed to the Deseret Morning News and other media by Mark and Lori Hackings' families.

"The families understand that Mark Hacking has provided information that makes it unnecessary for individuals or groups to continue the volunteer search," the statement reads. "At this time, the families ask that all efforts from volunteers cease and that anyone with information that they feel might be helpful contact the Salt Lake City Police Department directly."

Salt Lake City police were to meet with family members late Saturday, and the family was expected to share with investigators details of their conversation with Mark Hacking, detective Phil Eslinger said.

"To my knowledge we are going to work through the night with the family to determine what that information is," Eslinger said. "All I know is that it was a legitimate fax from the family. This is not another one of those cruel jokes or rumors."

Police are expected to hold a news conference sometime today.

No further statements are likely from the Hacking or Soares families in the near future. Their statement included a plea that their privacy be respected in what was described in the families' statement as "this difficult time" and indicated they plan to make no further statements about the case.

Contacted at his home Saturday night, attorney D. Gilbert Athay, who has been hired to represent Mark Hacking, said he had no comment.

Lori Hacking disappeared July 19, allegedly while jogging in Memory Grove just before 6 a.m. Volunteers' search efforts in the park and nearby canyons, which over a week drew more than 4,000 people, were unsuccessful.

Police now say they believe Lori, who had just learned she was five-weeks pregnant, was never in the park.

Mark Hacking has been hospitalized since the day after he reported his wife missing. He has also been named a "person of interest" in the case by police but as of Saturday had never officially been called a suspect.

However, investigators took numerous pieces of evidence from the couple's apartment at 127 S. Lincoln St. (945 East), including box springs and computers. Also among the evidence being evaluated by forensic experts is a knife said to have blood and hair samples.

Before Lori Hacking disappeared, the couple was supposedly moving to Chapel Hill, N.C., where Mark was to attend medical school. But three days into the case, it was learned that Mark Hacking had lied about his acceptance to medical school, as well as his recent graduation from the University of Utah.

Over the past two weeks, more and more information has trickled out indicating that Mark may have been lying to his friends and family for as long as 18 months about his present and future life.

The details and the time line of events Hacking shared with police also quickly crumbled. Mark Hacking said on July 19 that he had learned Lori had failed to arrive at work about 10 a.m., but a mattress store clerk said Mark was shopping for a mattress at the time. A credit card receipt showed he had indeed purchased one, just 26 minutes before he called police at 10:49 a.m.

Until Saturday, it appeared that Mark had also maintained he knew nothing about his wife's disappearance. In a conversation with his father, Douglas Hacking, Mark said he had lied about his life because he felt pressure to be successful like his father and siblings. But he said he didn't know what had happened to his wife.

"He looked me in the eye and said, 'No,' " Douglas Hacking said when recounting his conversation with his son to reporters July 23. No one is certain what Lori Hacking knew of her husband's deception or when she knew it. However, co-workers at Wells Fargo Bank have said that the Friday before she disappeared, Lori received an upsetting phone call and left in tears.

Police have focused most of their search efforts on the Salt Lake Valley Solid Waste Facility, sifting through piles of refuse on four separate occasions with investigators and four cadaver dogs. That search was temporarily suspended on Friday, with police saying the dogs needed a day or two of rest.

So far, the only comment from police about the landfill searches has been that "nothing of consequence" had yet been found.

Landfill searches are expected to resume, but police have not been specific about when.

The task of finding what is presumably Lori Hacking's body in the landfill could be seen as nearly impossible. More than 2,500 tons of refuse is deposited there daily by more than 600 dump trucks. Police have focused their efforts on a one- to two-acre segment of the facility.

Police apparently believed the landfill held significant clues as to Lori Hacking's whereabouts as early as one day after she went missing. Landfill executive director Romney Stewart told the Deseret Morning News last week that police asked him on July 20 to suspend dumping in a certain area so that it could be searched.

Poker Night

Down $7 or so on a $10 buy-in (I bought in twice overall) at my old friend Derek's house. Our table of four included our other long-time friend Brian and Derek's friend Matthew.

Had a couple of good hands but we played a lot of five-card stuf, jacks or better to open, so a lot of the pots were the antes when no one could open through four or five hands in a row. All those dimes add up slowly.

Derek's dog Brand, 8 or 9 years old and newly diagnosed diabetic, kept us all company as we moved from the game table to the porch for our occasional smoke break. I first met Brand a couple years ago when Derek and I were both in the Seattle metro area. Great dog, low-key and friendly, has this half-smile facial expression that matches Derek so well.

I'm off to bed shortly, had to write this up and include the latest Deseret Morning News story about the Lori Hacking disappearance in another post shortly after this one.


Deseret Morning News: Certain cases grab more attention

Race and class can affect coverage, media experts say

OREM—A day after Lori Hacking was reported missing, another Orem girl disappeared.

While Hacking's story garnered national media attention and an outpouring of community support, the disappearance of Felicia Young, 19, barely registered a blip on the public-awareness radar screen.

On Thursday, Young's absence was reported in a newspaper for the first time. Her family complained that despite their best efforts they could not enlist the help of neighbors or news reporters to help find her.

Wednesday afternoon, perhaps because of the news article, Young called her mother to report she was fine and didn't want to be found.

To be sure, the disappearances of Hacking, who is from Orem, and Young are two very different stories—police suspected from the beginning that Young had vanished of her own accord—but they raise an important question: Why do some missing persons cases draw more attention than others?

"We put the same information out on every missing persons case," said Springville Police Lt. Dave Caron. "Why the press picks up some cases and not others, well, that's something to ask the press."

When Elizabeth Smart disappeared from her Salt Lake City home, some news analysts, such as the Poynter Institute's Bob Steele, wondered if her case was receiving too much attention. After all, there are some 2,000 reported cases of missing children per day, according to the National Crime Information Center. Why was her plight more important than that of Alexis Patterson, a 7-year-old Milwaukee girl who disappeared a month before on her way to school?

"Some suggest that race is a key factor. Smart is white. Patterson is black," wrote Steele, the institute's Nelson Poynter Scholar for Journalism Values. "I do believe that race, as well as class differences, can factor into how journalists cover the stories of missing children. But the issue is much more complex than that."

"There are a number of reasons why news organizations choose to cover some missing children and not others, and why they devote more attention to some cases."

Steele said much of the media attention a story generates depends on how it breaks. If there is an emotional plea from the family to help find the missing person, as there was in the Hacking case, it is much more likely the public and the media will pay attention. In the Young case, her family didn't report her missing for days because of her history of vanishing for days at a time.

Some police officers are more forthcoming than others, Steele said, which also affects media coverage. The same goes for the families of missing persons—some are media savvy, while others are not.

And some recognize the importance of media attention but do not know how to go about getting it or lack the connections to do so.

"In the end, journalists make decisions on what stories are more interesting," Steele said. "If the story has an edge to it, if there are unusual or sensational details, it's more likely to be covered. I think the Hacking story would have (been a big story) anywhere."

Karen Mayne, spokeswoman for the Provo Police Department, said in her experience the media are helpful in finding a missing person even when the story isn't gripping. A few years back an elderly man wandered away from a Provo rest home and the media aired his story, Mayne said. As with many missing persons cases, the man eventually turned up dead.

Initially in a missing persons case, media attention is helpful, said Springville's Caron, but over time the scrutiny can become burdensome. Caron said he does sense a bias in the types of stories the media choose to cover.

"It's sad, and I hate to say this, but if you have a really cute kid, it's going to get more attention than a kid who looks like his mother is a troll and his dad is a gargantuan with a third arm," he said. "If a black woman in Chicago turned up missing, it's not going to make the news, unless there is something spectacular about the case."

The story goes on to talk about how such things as the way the story breaks (pleas from the family or information from police?), how forthcoming the police are, and even the missing person's own history (has the person been gone for days at a time before?) can affect the way a disappearance is covered by the press.

Orem is about 43 miles from my house, and this story was the first I'd heard about Felicia Young.

It's sad race and class are ever factors in coverage of any news story. I was distressed when I remembered one of my first reactions to Lori Hacking's disappearance—before I knew anything about her background, I thought:

This is just like the Elizabeth Smart case. It's made the news because the missing person is a white female.

The descriptive information at FindLori.com lists Hacking's complexion as "dark," and she looks Hispanic to me. Or is that Latino? I don't know which word to use anymore, and I certainly don't want to offend anyone. But my point is simply that when I saw the photos on the "missing" posters and on the various news stories, my first thought was that she was white, and that's why the story was being covered.

And I'm ashamed by that.


Early-morning randomness

Børn Footwear: CLASSIC: Blast
Børn Footwear: CLASSIC: Blast
New shoes today.... Børn rules.

At 09:30 I’ll be meeting with an academic advisor at the University of Utah to hammer out my school life for the foreseeable future.

I set my alarm for 08:30 to be sure I’d have plenty of time to shower, dress, drive to the U (it’s maybe 10 min. away, including finding parking and wandering around campus until I find the right building). So of course I snapped awake promptly at 05:49, for crying out loud.

On the plus side, no bad news about Lori Hacking—but then, no news of any kind yet either, and still no sign of her. No summaries of these stories today, links only:

And finally, a spot of good—nay, INCREDIBLE—news:

Astounding accomplishment after surviving testicular cancer in the 1990s. Bravo!


Lori Hacking update: Sat 07/24/04

Only one story worth quoting this morning; it covers the content of most other news sources' stories very well.

Deseret Morning News: 'Never clear' about jogger

S.L. woman not certain she saw Lori on Monday

The woman who said she saw Lori Hacking outside Memory Grove early Monday now says she is not certain that was the case.

Joan Mullaney says she saw a woman running toward the park gate, not one stretching next to a car, as early reports said. The woman was fit and was wearing a red sports bra and a gray T-shirt and had a long brown ponytail. But Mullaney said she never saw the woman's face.

"It was never a sure thing," Mullaney said Friday, explaining that she noticed the woman about 5:45 a.m. when picking up a newspaper from her front porch. "I was never clear that it really was her. I just said it could be. I really wish I could be clearer."

Mullaney's Canyon Road home is three doors south of the entrance to Memory Grove park where Hacking, 27, allegedly went missing during a sunrise jog. Repeated searches of the area by police and volunteers haven't located the young woman, whose husband reported her missing at 10:49 a.m. that day.

Salt Lake City police detective Dwayne Baird said he would not speculate as to whether Mullaney actually saw Lori Hacking, or some other jogger, entering the canyon. Nor would he say that Mullaney was recanting an earlier statement.

"The woman who was the witness in the Memory Grove area indicated she saw a woman that morning who matched the description fairly closely to the woman we were looking for," Baird said. "However, she realized it was early in the morning, not much sunlight, and she wasn't certain that it was (Lori) because she didn't know who she was."

Witnesses statements, Baird added, are "just part of the investigative process, and we have to look at all aspects."

Mullaney's neighbor, Nancy Becker, saw Lori Hacking's gray car parked under a tree in front of her home, but she said she never saw the young woman. She did see Mark Hacking, Lori's husband, run out of the grove and join several friends who were knocking on residents' doors asking if anyone had seen Lori or anything unusual.

"He was very distraught, he was saying, 'I should have been with her,'" Becker said. "He was crying."

Possible evidence
But Becker and others are now wondering about Mark Hacking's tears. In the days since his pregnant wife disappeared without a trace, Hacking has been admitted to a psychiatric unit at the University Hospital, and it was discovered he had lied about plans to begin medical school in North Carolina this fall.

Other questions have focused on Hacking's purchase of a new mattress Monday morning and a late-night "disturbance" during which Hacking was found by police near-naked on the grounds of a local motel.

"It really makes you wonder," Becker said. "Something about the timetable doesn't add up."

On Friday, crime lab technicians added some possible new pieces to the evidence being collected in the case. They took pictures and swabs of liquid from the inside of a trash can at a house across the street from the Hackings' apartment building. Monday night, the plastic green can was found lined with a pungent brown liquid and maggots, resident Devan Hite said.

"It was definitely a protein-rich substance, it was very pungent . . . ," said Hite, adding that stains and residue from the liquid in the can made it appear as if something had been poured from the can. "It's just awfully curious. We eat very little meat, we eat chicken, and what we do eat wouldn't leave that much liquid."

Hite said he put the garbage can out late Sunday night in preparation for Monday morning collection. His family, he said, questioned what might have been in there and how it got there. Then, on Thursday, Hite concluded that the can might contain a clue for police.

After about an hour at the Hite home Friday, technicians removed residue and left, he said.

"They were a little disappointed, I think," he said. "I actually tried to clean it with (bleach), so they didn't have as much to look at."

Mattress purchase
In their attempts to follow leads and collect evidence that might help find Lori Hacking, Salt Lake police have seized numerous items from the couple's home, including a set of box springs, computers and a Dumpster from behind their Lincoln Street (945 East) apartment. Police are also looking at the couple's financial situation in order to determine if there were problems that could have caused any serious marital discord, Baird said.

Of particular interest in the case on Friday was the mattress Mark Hacking bought 26 minutes before calling police to report Lori's disappearance. Hacking's credit card was cleared for the purchase at 10:23 a.m.

Chad Downs, owner of Bradley's Sleep Etc., 2255 S. 300 West, said he didn't notice anything unusual about Hacking's behavior during the purchase. Downs said he helped tie the mattress to the top of Hacking's car before the 28-year-old left the store.

Within 30 minutes of leaving the store, Hacking was reportedly jogging the trails of Memory Grove looking for his wife, who failed to show up for work Monday at 7 a.m. The route was three miles up and three miles back.

Family support
But even as police call Mark Hacking a "person of interest" in the investigation and as questions and contradictions mount, the families of both Mark and Lori Hacking publicly displayed support for him Friday.

Douglas Hacking, Mark's father, said he visited his son at the hospital, looked him directly in the eye, and asked him if he had anything to do with Lori's disappearance.

"He looked me in the eye and said, 'No,'" Douglas Hacking said.

Nevertheless, many unanswered questions about Mark Hacking's behavior and apparent lies to his family over the past two years hung over the family Friday.

Until Tuesday, Hacking's family thought Mark had graduated in May from the University of Utah with a degree in psychology and had been admitted to medical school in North Carolina. In reality, Hacking dropped out of college in 2002 and had never even applied for medical school.

Hacking allegedly sent out invitations for his graduation but then said he was ill on graduation day.

Douglas Hacking said the events of the past week had been tough on the family.

"We didn't see it coming. We got completely blindsided by this," he said.

Hacking also said Friday that were it not for the suspicion surrounding his son, the case might not have received as much media attention as it has. But he said he was leaving questions concerning his son's behavior to police.

"The police are doing a thorough job. We wouldn't want anything less than that," he said. "We want (the investigation) done well, and we want it done right. We think the authorities are attempting to do that."

Hacking said his family has decided not to ask Mark many questions about the case. However, Douglas Hacking said questions about whether he had anything to do with Lori's disappearance and his schooling were something he wanted "straight answers" from his son. Everything else he said he would let police handle.

"We want the truth to come out, no matter what the consequences, and I think it will," he said.

Focusing on Lori
Rumors circulated that signs of dissension were starting to show between the families of Mark and Lori Hacking, but all members of the Hacking and Soares families appeared at a press conference Friday morning arm-in-arm in a show of unity. Their message seemed to be that despite what was happening with Mark Hacking the focus should still be on Lori.

"I'm sorry all of the attention that has been toward our son, Mark, has hindered our efforts to find Lori," Douglas Hacking said. "I hope everyone won't assume Mark had anything to do with her disappearance and it's fruitless to look for her. We are not going to be diverted by all the other allegations and other things of interest."

Thelma Soares, Lori's mother, offered a tearful plea to keep the focus on her daughter.

"We know where Mark is. We don't know where Lori is," she said. "We're aware of all of the rumors and speculation surrounding this case. I'm removing myself from all of that because my baby is still out there somewhere, and we need to find her."

Hacking said his son was on medication at the hospital and undergoing psychological testing.

The search received a much-needed surge Friday with more than 530 volunteers coming to an LDS meetinghouse at 142 W. 200 North to join the effort. On Thursday, the number of volunteers had dipped to less than 300 after about 1,200 earlier in the week.

Search organizers plan to pass out fliers and buttons with Lori's picture on it before this morning's Deseret Morning News Marathon and the Days of '47 Parade in downtown Salt Lake City.