74 entries categorized "News"

Salt Lake Tribune: Update: Lori's father lashes out against Mark Hacking

Updated 08/06/2004 15:40:53
With the gruesome facts surrounding Lori Hacking's death finally revealed, her father on Friday lashed out against prime suspect Mark Hacking, calling his son-in-law's alleged actions "disrespectful," "gutless" and "monstrous."

Eraldo Soares, of Fullerton, Calif., called on the criminal justice system to afford "appropriate justice" for Mark Hacking, who confessed to his brothers that he killed Lori in her sleep and disposed of her body in a Dumpster.

"As the facts about my little girl's death emerge, I am outraged," he said. "The innumerable lies she was told by her husband for years on end were selfish and shameful. The cowardly way in which she and her baby were brutally murdered in cold-blood while she slept is despicable. The gutless attempt at covering up this monstrous act is appalling. It is difficult to imagine a more disrespectful way of disposing of her remains."

Even as evidence became public indicating that Mark Hacking had lied about his whereabouts on July 19, the day his pregnant wife died, the Soares and Hacking families continued to publicly stand together.

In a statement made on July 24, Soares said he loved his son-in-law but questioned his honesty. That same evening, Hacking's brothers say, Mark Hacking confessed to them.

It is unclear when the Soares family learned of the confession, but the Hacking family said communication was made "quickly" and Soares had not spoken publicly since.

In other news Friday, a memorial service for Lori Hacking has been scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 14, at 11 a.m. at the LDS Windsor Stake Center, 60 E 1600 North, Orem.

A display honoring Lori's life will be in the Relief Society room of the church from 9:30 am until 11 am. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Lori Hacking Memorial Fund at any Wells Fargo Bank or by mail to Thelma Soares, 1501 N Canyon Road, Provo, UT 84602.

I figured it'd be Lori Hacking's father who would switch sides, as it were, and denounce Mark Hacking at some point. I'm surprised it took this long, in fact.


“The right thing to do”

A Salt Lake Tribune article for which I failed to grab the link; it’s since disappeared into their paid-access archive.

“The right thing to do”
Family says Mark Hacking is willing to help investigators even if his life is at stake

He told his family he killed his wife.

Now his family says Mark Hacking is ready to accept the consequences.

In a telephone conversation from jail Wednesday night, Hacking reportedly talked to his father about his willingness to help investigators, despite its possible effect on his upcoming court case.

“He is determined to do what is right,” Douglas Hacking told The Salt Lake Tribune on Thursday. “He started the process when he let the word out to where Lori was and he is determined to continue to do what is right—even if it costs him his life.”

Prosecutors could file capital-murder charges in the case if they can prove an aggravating circumstance, such as Lori Hacking’s reported pregnancy. They now have more time to make that determination, after 3rd District Judge Anthony Quinn granted an extension Thursday following a request from the Salt Lake District Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors, who say they have not had enough time to review the evidence, were given until 5 p.m. Monday to file charges against Mark Hacking, or he could be released.

United by grief and a desire to uncover the truth about Lori’s disappearance, the Hacking and Soares families have formed an unusually stable bond. When Mark’s credibility came into question early in the search for Lori, the families were side by side at nearly every public appearance.

As information mounted about Mark Hacking’s actions on July 19, the morning Lori vanished, her father, Hareld Soares, revealed that he doubted his son-in-law’s story. Even then, Soares told him that his love would not diminish.

“I told him, ‘I have compassion and love for you,’“ Soares said at the time.

And Douglas Hacking called Lori’s mother, Thelma Soares, shortly after learning of his son’s confession to family members July 24.

“We have been upfront with them every step of the way. They have known everything we have known,” said Douglas Hacking, a pediatrician from Orem, adding that he spent part of Tuesday night at Thelma Soares’ home. “We are still grieving about Lori together.”

“She was our daughter, too. I have her picture right in front of my desk,” he said. “I just weep for her. I just feel so sorry for what happened.”

Mark Hacking’s brother, Scott, called the tragedy “a double loss.”

Scott and another brother, Lance, heard Mark Hacking’s confession during an 11 p.m. meeting on July 24 at University Hospital’s psychiatric ward.

During that meeting, Mark admitted that he killed Lori while she slept in their apartment and later threw her body into a nearby Dumpster.

The decision to tell police about the confession was excruciating for Scott and for his father, who watched his son wrestle with the choice.

“I don’t know if I have ever seen anybody experience that much anguish before,” Douglas Hacking said. “On the one hand, he felt like he might be betraying his brother and compromising his chances in the court. On the other hand, he felt that he may have some information that the police didn’t have.”

Initially, Scott and Lance Hacking informed their parents only that Mark had told them where Lori’s body had been placed. Douglas Hacking and his wife, Janet, drove Scott to the police station the following night so he could inform police.

“We as a family have decided from the outset that our motto was to do what was right and we have tried to do what was right the whole time,” Douglas said. “When it was all over, [Scott] said ‘I have never felt so bad and so good at the same time.’“

He said his sons’ decision to report on their brother was the right choice. Scott, in turn, credited his parents with providing the moral guidance that made the decision possible. “My parents are amazing parents. They’ve raised us with the foundation of Mormonism and that has gotten us to this point,” he said. “If Mark has done something outside of these principles, it’s certainly not because of any lack of guidance from his parents. He’s turned away from these principles.”

Now, Scott said, he wants to bring his brother back into the fold.

Douglas Hacking said that process started when Mark decided to confess, though he was pressured by Scott and Lance earlier in the day.

“One of the things that I think helped Mark make that decision was when he saw how many volunteers were out searching for her,” he said. “But I think the primary thing was that he came to the conclusion that the right thing to do was pass that information on to authorities.”

The family allowed the search to continue for a few days following the reported confession because they were concerned about the “reliability of Mark’s information,” Douglas Hacking said.

“He had lied before and he lied straight to me,” Douglas said, referring to an earlier conversation when he asked Mark if he had anything to do with Lori’s disappearance.

The family also expected police to call off the search on July 25, but 1,800 volunteers arrived.

The family eventually decided to call off the searches themselves, saying they would limit the search to all-terrain vehicles, horses and airplanes in rugged area. Those searches never materialized.

One question the family can’t answer is why Mark committed the alleged murder.

“We have talked about it and talked about it, and speculated. Five minutes ago we talked about it again,” Douglas Hacking said Thursday morning. “The only thing I can come up with is that he just snapped.”

Scott Hacking said he plans to seek no further information about the alleged murder from his brother, per instructions from Mark’s defense attorney, Gilbert Athay.

While he was writing his jailed son a letter, Douglas Hacking received a phone call from Mark late Wednesday. They had a 15-minute conversation that focused primarily on the conditions in the mental health unit, where Mark Hacking is on suicide watch, but also touched on his decision to assist investigators.

On Monday, Hacking sat in his cell naked with only a blanket. The next day he received a jumpsuit and on Wednesday his jailers gave him a pair of underwear.

Officials at the jail say those are the three stages suicidal inmates are placed in depending on a daily consultation with a psychiatrist. It also shows that Mark Hacking’s emotional state is settling.

Salt Lake County District Attorney David Yocom declined comment on the news that Mark Hacking may cooperate with prosecutors, other than to say, “That’s interesting.”

Athay on Thursday did not return a phone call requesting comment.

He will have to wait until police finish compiling the case against Hacking to hear what charges prosecutors will levy.

Thursday’s court motion by prosecutors to extend the deadline for filing charges states that Salt Lake City detectives “just returned” from Texas, where they were interviewing a witness—most likely Lance Hacking, who lives in Austin.

Police also are “in the process of compiling transcripts of witness interviews, and are awaiting test results from the crime lab,” states the motion.

Without the extension, prosecutors would have been forced to file charges by the end of business Thursday or release Hacking, who was booked into jail Aug. 2.

Mark Hacking is being held on a $500,000 cash-only bail.

Detectives, meanwhile, searched the Salt Lake County landfill for a sixth night Thursday, looking for Lori Hacking’s body. A backhoe being used in the effort was so deep into the 18-feet-tall pile of trash that it was barely visible from the road that runs alongside the dump.

The search of the 2-acre area may take weeks, but detectives say they are hopeful of finding her remains with the assistance of Duchesne County’s cadaver dogs.

SLTrib articles related to Lori Hacking case

It's strange. I've posted about Lori Hacking about twice a day since her disappearance on July 19, which is odd because the case doesn't captivate me anywhere nearly that much. From the third day when Mark Hacking's education lies came to light, I've posted mainly because it's happening in my hometown—the town where I was born, grew up, and am living again after two years in other cities—and because after I made the first couple of posts, I saw a lot of hits about it from search engines. I felt somewhat responsible for providing an easy reference for folks who may have stumbled over my site while searching for news or information about Lori Hacking.

Anyway, below the fold are clippings of two stories from the Salt Lake Tribune, along with links to the Tribune's reference section on the case.

If you know of any other good resources for Lori Hacking-related material, please post in the comments section so my archive will be as complete as possible.

Continue reading "SLTrib articles related to Lori Hacking case" »


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.

Salt Lake Tribune: Husband's fate after hospital in question

"Person of interest": The police and prosecutors consider their possible actions when Mark Hacking is released

Tucked away on the fifth floor of University Hospital, Mark Hacking has received psychiatric care since the morning after he reported his wife, Lori, missing 12 days ago.

That hospital stay is expected to end soon, according to a hospital official.

The question is: Will police let Hacking, the only "person of interest" in his wife's disappearance, go home?

The University of Utah has an all-hours security force that is keeping tabs on Mark Hacking, but no U. police officers are on the psychiatric floor, said University police Sgt. Earl McKee. "If doctors feel he is able to leave the hospital, he is free to go," said Salt Lake City Police Detective Phil Eslinger, adding that he doubts Mark Hacking would be arrested upon his release.

If Hacking is taken into custody, prosecutors would have 72 hours to file criminal charges. But that seems premature in a case where investigators have not found Lori Hacking and are awaiting forensic testing on evidence seized from the Hackings' apartment, including small amounts of blood and a knife.

Authorities also could assign an officer to trail Mark Hacking.

Or they could do nothing and trust that their "person of interest" does not flee.

As police and prosecutors weigh their options of what to do when Mark Hacking is released, detectives, with the help of cadaver dogs, will continue boring through the Salt Lake County landfill in search of a body.

For the second night in a row on Friday, the landfill search was suspended to give the dogs a rest.

Eslinger said he did not know when the search will resume or how long it might continue.

Using backhoes, landfill employees have dug trenches up to 45 feet deep. The methodical search could take months, say police, who equate it to the proverbial needle in a haystack.

"It is a huge task," Eslinger said. "For us to be spending as much time and effort as we are, I have to say it is a fairly credible tip."

Despite the deliberate nature of the search for Lori Hacking, investigators say the case is moving forward.

"They feel comfortable with what they are doing and the direction [the case] is heading," Eslinger said.

The case is being handled by the homicide squad along with a few detectives from other units. Eslinger said these detectives are focused on building a meticulous case, not a quick outcome.

Maj. Stu Smith from the state crime laboratory lauded police for their thorough work in handling evidence and for involving forensic experts from the beginning. A good portion of that evidence was collected in the search of the apartment, which started July 19.

Mark Hacking called police that morning to say his wife never returned from a run up City Creek Canyon. Police now say they have no evidence that Lori Hacking, 27 years old and five weeks pregnant at the time, was ever at the canyon.

Investigators started to focus on Mark as they uncovered a series of deceptions. That propensity to lie was underscored in a videotape aired Friday by "Inside Edition," in which Hacking spoke to a documentary filmmaker from California two days before Lori disappeared. The footage was intended for use in a film about nurses.

First Hacking plays the "Addams Family" theme by making squeaking noises with his palms, then he talks about his college education.

"I started off in social work. No, I lied. I started in sociology," he says. "I finished my degree in psychology and yes, I do love it. And now I am moving on."

But Mark Hacking never graduated from the University of Utah. He dropped out in 2002.

He also told family and friends that he was accepted to a medical school, also a lie. He lied to his wife about the reason he was sent home early from his Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mission in Canada. And he told police he searched City Creek Canyon the morning of July 19, when he actually was at a South Salt Lake furniture store purchasing a mattress.

The families of Mark and Lori have stopped making public comments, but on Friday they observed a day of prayer and fasting.

They say they are planning aerial and all-terrain searches for Lori in areas where a foot search would be dangerous. Those searches, organized with police, have not yet started.

Anyone interested in assisting in the search can find information on the family's Web site, www.findlori.com.

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.


Salt Lake Tribune: Hopes dim for happy ending

Lori Hacking's family 'strong and united' despite fears of the worst

Article last updated: 07/28/2004 11:01:36 AM
Eight days after Lori Hacking was reported missing, her family is holding out hope.

But they also understand this harsh reality: Long-missing women do not often come back alive.

No one knows that better than police detectives, which explains why their actions have more closely resembled an investigation of a homicide, rather than an abduction, as was the general assumption when Hacking first disappeared.

Among the clues suggesting police are intent on finding a body and solving a murder:
  • Police support the family's decision to limit searches of the area in which Mark Hacking, the primary "person of interest" in the case, claims his wife went missing on July 19.
  • The only place police are searching, with cadaver dogs, is a Salt Lake County landfill.
  • The homicide squad is leading the investigation and has not requested the assistance of the FBI, which usually aids in abduction cases.
  • A judge has signed a secret subpoena and approved a search warrant in the case.
  • A knife gathered during the investigation has been sent to the crime lab for analysis.
"It is Day Eight. We know what that means," family spokesman Scott Dunaway said. "We know what the statistics are about that."

The dogs returned to the landfill late Tuesday in an effort to finish searching a quadrant where police believe they may find evidence.

Detective Dwayne Baird said the search was prompted by a credible tip received last week. He said police were not actively looking in any other area of the valley, but continued to comb through a "couple hundred leads."

Investigators and cadaver dogs already have been over the area once, several days after Lori Hacking's disappearance. By that time, the landfill plot already had been covered by approximately 15 feet of topsoil.

In spotlights set up to aid the effort, a backhoe could be seen moving rubbish and dirt. Though numerous officers were at the scene, Baird downplayed the significance of the lead.

"We have to look at everything we get," he said. "We can't ignore these things." Homicide Detective Kelly Kent, the lead investigator, said her team includes more than 10 other detectives, some outside of the homicide squad. Homicide detectives don't normally handle missing persons cases, but Baird said depending on the evidence, such cases may be assigned to different units.

Among the evidence police are evaluating is Mark Hacking's claims that he was searching City Creek Canyon for his wife, while he was actually buying a mattress at a South Salt Lake furniture store. Police on July 19 asked permission to remove a mattress from a Dumpster behind a church near the Hackings' apartment.

Police are also are investigating Mark Hacking's lies involving his past and future educational pursuits, a series of deceptions his wife may have discovered three days before she disappeared, according to co-workers.

Mark Hacking said his wife, who was five weeks pregnant, went for a jog in the canyon about 5:15 a.m. on July 19. Her car was later discovered at the entrance to the canyon, but police now say they have no evidence she was ever there on that morning.

Salt Lake City investigators have turned down offers of help from the FBI, West Valley City and the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office, and have even limited information about the case provided to officers involved in the search.

In other developments Tuesday:
  • The family placed the search on hold, worried that remaining search areas are too rugged and treacherous for people on foot.
  • The family will place a link on their Web site (http://www.findlori.com) where those with all-terrain vehicles, planes and other possible search equipment can volunteer to help in what they are calling "the next phase of the search efforts."
  • Police asked the public to stop reporting found mattresses, saying they already had what they needed.
  • The family will dismantle the search center today and have not scheduled any future news conferences. Dunaway said the family will hold news conferences only when they have new information to impart.
  • Relatives emptied the Hackings' apartment, allowing new residents to move in. The Hackings' possessions will be kept in storage.
Dunaway characterized the family as strong and united, a statement further evidenced by the actions of Hareld Soares and Janet Hacking, who were holding hands during Tuesday's news conference.

"This is an amazingly courageous family," Dunaway said. "I am confident they will be able to endure any trial they have to."

FOXNews.com: Cops: 'Rage Killing' in Hacking Home

Police believe that a "rage killing" took place inside Lori and Mark Hacking's apartment hours before Lori was reported missing, FOX News has confirmed.

Authorities also said they believe Lori Hacking (search) was attacked and killed inside the apartment.

Police confirmed that a bloody knife with strands of brown hair on it was among the numerous pieces of evidence they removed from the couple's apartment.

There were also unconfirmed reports that authorities were testing a clump of brown hair found in a trash bin just a block or two from the store where Mark Hacking purchased a mattress minutes before he called police about his wife's disappearance.

There were additional rumors that authorities, using blood-detection techniques, found a significant amount of blood inside the Hackings' home.

Detective Dwayne Baird wouldn't confirm the reports about the evidence, but didn't deny them either.

This story appeared on FOXNews.com between reloads about 20 minutes apart. Exactly where I figured the case was headed, but still disappointing to see it actually turn out that way.


Salt Lake Tribune: Update: Hacking family calls off search volunteers

Article last updated: 07/27/2004 12:34:57 PM
SALT LAKE CITY—The search by volunteers looking for missing jogger Lori Hacking was temporarily called off today, but will resume later with specialized teams, a family spokesman said.

Scott Dunaway said the decision was not related to any change in the direction of the police investigation into Hacking's disappearance. Hacking, 27, has been missing since July 19, when her husband Mark Hacking reported she had not returned from a morning jog in City Creek Canyon.

Lori Hacking, a Wells Fargo employee who was five weeks pregnant, is now feared dead, and her husband has become the focus of the police investigation. Hundreds of Utahns have volunteers to help search for her in the week since she vanished.

Dunaway said this morning the length of time Lori Hacking has been missing has dampened the family's hopes of finding her alive. "They understand the reality of eight days," he said.

Meanwhile, police returned with night lights and cadaver dogs Monday night to search the Salt Lake County landfill, which already had been searched before.

At the time of Lori's disappearance, the couple were packing to move to North Carolina. But after she vanished, police and family members learned that besides lying about being accepted to medical school, Mark Hacking had not even graduated from college. Mark Hacking, a 28-year-old nightshift hospital orderly, has been at a psychiatric hospital since police found him running around naked in sandals the night after the search for his wife began. Police refused to say whether he was being held involuntarily.

His family has hired defense attorney D. Gilbert Athay, who said Monday he has spoken to Hacking many times since being hired Thursday. He refused to characterize the conversations.

Three days before she disappeared, Lori Hacking may have uncovered her husband's deceptions.

She received a phone call at her work, started crying and went home early, said a colleague at Wells Fargo Institutional Brokerage and Sales.

"I could hear her say things such as, 'But he's already been accepted. He's already applied. This can't be correct,' said Darren Openshaw, a Wells Fargo employee who overheard the phone call about 2:15 p.m. on July 16.

Openshaw said he believes the caller was from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Lori Hacking update: Tue 07/27/04 morning

Three stories—one CNN.com link and one from each of the Salt Lake-area morning newspapers—discuss Lori Hacking's co-workers' recounting details of a phone call Lori received at work Fri 07/16. Co-workers who overheard the call believe it may have been from the University of North Carolina, where Mark Hacking said he'd been accepted to medical but in fact had never applied. Lori Hacking had been trying to arrange for on-campus housing through the school and was upset when they told her Mark Hacking wasn't enrolled there and in fact had never applied. Upset by the call, Lori left work early that day.


Lori Hacking update: Mon 07/26/04 evening

Two items tonight.

First, The Salt Lake Tribune now offers a special section on the case: Missing: The Search for Lori Hacking.

Second, CNN.com's story discussing the hiring of an attorney to represent Mark Hacking: Attorney hired for husband of missing woman

Police call Mark Hacking 'person of interest' in case

Paul and Valeria Soares, Lori Hacking's brother and sister-in-law
Paul and Valeria Soares, Lori Hacking's brother and sister-in-law, comfort one another during a candlelight vigil Sunday
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (CNN)—The family of a man whose wife has been missing since last week said Monday that an attorney has been hired to represent him.

Salt Lake City attorney Gilbert Athay will represent Mark Hacking, who has been hospitalized in a psychiatric ward since shortly after his wife disappeared.

Athay told CNN by phone that he had been retained by the Hackings on Thursday and has been visiting his client daily at the hospital.

Meanwhile, the search continued for Lori Hacking, who last contacted her mother in an e-mail message sent July 14 or 15. Dunaway said at a news conference that Lori asked her mother to take care of the couple's cat as they prepared to move to North Carolina.

Mark Hacking told police his wife never returned from an early morning jog July 20. Her car was found near the park where she often ran, and a witness reported seeing a woman fitting Lori's description stretching that morning in the same area.

Mark Hacking told police the couple recently found out Lori was pregnant, but Thelma Soares, Lori's mother, said her daughter had not told her the news.

Although authorities have not called Mark Hacking a suspect, they have labeled him a "person of interest" in his 27-year-old wife's disappearance.

Monday, two police technicians and a detective searched an empty trash container outside the hospital where Mark Hacking is a patient.

Police said Sunday that an arrest warrant could be issued in the case if forensic test results expected in the next few days confirm investigators' suspicions.

Saturday, police investigated the discovery of a clump of brown hair in a trash container near the store where Hacking, 28, is reported to have bought a mattress before reporting his wife's disappearance. A detective told CNN that someone called police and reported finding the hair at a car wash less than a block from the store.

Lori Hacking has brown hair.

Suspicion mounted against Mark Hacking when his family revealed Wednesday that he had lied about graduating from the University of Utah and being accepted at three medical schools in other states. He was checked into a psychiatric hospital Monday night.

Police last questioned him Wednesday but haven't since because they don't feel they're getting good information from him.

"As far as his telling us the truth, I think everybody has a question about his telling us the truth," said Salt Lake City police detective Dwayne Baird.

"To go back and re-question him about the same issues when we don't feel that he's been truthful the first time, I'm not certain that that would do us any good," he told reporters Monday.

Police said last week they had learned that Mark telephoned friends around 10 a.m. Monday to say his wife was missing and, about 50 minutes later, telephoned police. During the interim, he bought a queen-size mattress, without a box spring.

On Thursday, police confiscated a box spring from the couple's apartment. Authorities also impounded Mark Hacking's car and searched the couple's apartment, and a trash container was removed.

Thousands of volunteers have searched the park where Lori's car was found and the neighborhood in which the couple lived.

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!


CNN.com: Family of missing mom-to-be clings to hope

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP)—The family of a missing pregnant woman said Sunday they were clinging to diminishing hopes of finding her alive, and appointed a spokesman after a week of nearly constant media coverage.

"We are all exhausted and we feel we need to concentrate our efforts and our energies on finding Lori," said Thelma Soares, Lori Hacking's mother.

The family had been holding as many as two news conferences a day since the 27-year-old woman was reported missing a week ago. But they have been more reluctant to face reporters since questions arose about the credibility of Hacking's husband, Mark.

Scott Dunaway, a leader in Soares' church and the family's new spokesman, said they had learned little as far as new developments in the investigation.

A clump of brown hair was found Saturday in a trash bin at a gas station less than a block from the store where Mark Hacking bought a mattress before reporting his wife missing last Monday. But police say they don't know whether the hair was Lori's.

Detective Dwayne Baird, a police spokesman, wouldn't confirm or deny a Desert Morning News report, citing unnamed sources, that a bloody knife with strands of hair was among items taken from the Hackings' apartment.

"We took a lot of things out of that apartment," Baird said. He said police were still waiting on test results from a search of the apartment and surrounding area.

Baird said Mark Hacking, 28, was still a "person of interest" in the case, but he would not elaborate.

Mark Hacking reported his wife missing just days before they were to move to North Carolina, where he had said he was going to attend medical school. But he had lied to his wife and family—he had not been accepted to any medical school and never even graduated from college.

He also had initially said his wife did not wake him up after coming home from an early morning jog, as usual, and never showed up to work. But police confirmed Friday that Mark Hacking was at a furniture store buying a new mattress just before reporting to police that Lori was missing.

He has been under psychiatric care since police found him Tuesday running naked around a motel not far from his home.

Lori Hacking's family and her in-laws have said they want to keep the focus on finding Lori, not Mark's inconsistent statements.

"We continue to entertain all possibilities and we are prepared for whatever the outcome may be," Douglas Hacking, Mark's father, said in a written statement given to The Associated Press. "We would like to think Mark had no part in it. Our love for him has not changed and our ultimate goal is still to bring Lori home."

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.

People.com: Pregnant Woman Missing in Salt Lake City

In a case that is being likened to the early days of the Laci Peterson disappearance, searchers in Utah are knocking on doors and scouring canyons around Salt Lake City to find any sign of pregnant housewife Lori Hacking, who has not been seen since Monday.

Hacking, 27, who only recently learned that she was five weeks into her pregnancy, was last seen before she went for a jog. Her husband of five years, Mark Hacking, reportedly phoned police Monday after Lori failed to show up at work, the Associated Press reports.

He said he later found her Chrysler Sebring parked near the entrance to the park at which she ran.

On Wednesday, however, Lori's husband's relatives were stunned to learn the extent to which Mark had lied about his past and future. In particular he appears to have fabricated his educational record, after he had reportedly told the family that he was accepted to medical school at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Lori Hacking was said to have been making plans for the move to Chapel Hill next week. But Mark Hacking never applied there, reports now say.

In addition, the University of Utah says it has no record of Hacking having graduated from that school, despite his claims to the contrary.

"I have no explanation for this new development," his father, Douglas Hacking, tells the Salt Lake City Tribune. "I just can't understand that. It still doesn't answer the question of what happened to Lori."

The Tribune says Mark Hacking has been absent from the search all week and, as of Wednesday, was unavailable for comment, though police are aware of his whereabouts. Douglas Hacking said Tuesday that his son was "in a safe place, being given supportive care by family."

Salt Lake City Police were careful to point out to news sources that no links should be drawn between Hacking's purported misrepresentation of his academic status and any suspicions of foul play.

On Thursday morning's Today show, Lori's mother, Thelma Soares, said from Salt Lake City that she would like to know what, if anything, Mark knows about her daughter's disappearance. In the meantime, she said, she thanked Mark for allowing "the beautiful, sweet face of my daughter" to be shown across the country on TV, and asked anyone who might have an idea as to where Lori might be to please alert authorities.

People.com is a subscription-based site—access is limited to magazine subscribers, AOL users, and anyone who's bought this week's issue at the newsstand.


Lori Hacking stories for Thu 07/22/04

Links to today's news on the disappearance of Lori Hacking, the pregnant jogger last seen Monday morning as she left for her daily run.

There's now a web site, Find Lori, with news, details of each day's search, and links to electronic versions of the fliers posted around the city. I've included the JPEG version of the poster below the fold on this entry (click the "Turn the page" link to view it).

See also my previous posts:

  • Tue 07/20/04 18:07: Summary of a CNN.com story and my comments about seeing no unusual activity when I was naer City Creek Canyon that afternoon

  • Wed 07/21/04 21:31: Stories from CNN.com and The Salt Lake Tribune discuss the holes appearing in Mark Hacking's stories (no medical school enrollment, didn't actually graduate from the University of Utah, etc.)

Continue reading "Lori Hacking stories for Thu 07/22/04" »


Linkies

In lieu of original thought, I offer a few links I found interesting as I trolled the news and tech sites this morning.

In no particular order:

Wired.com: Inside Look at Birth of the iPod.

iPoding: AirPort Express dissection.

Opera released version 7.53 of their browser. I like Opera—it's speedy, renders well, complies with standards, blah blah blah—but the ad-supported free version annoys me, and I don't consider it worth $39 to remove those ads. So I typically install it, use it for a day or two, and then it just sits there. I also don't need its built-in IRC, email, and so on, so in fact I have no idea why I bother installing it at all. Especially since I really like Safari.

CNET News.com: Start-ups search for hard-drive replacements. Among the ideas under consideration: "Molten silicon, designer molecules, and protein globules from a cow." (!)

Also CNET News.com: Cell phone glitch throws off GPS. Some Motorola phones affected; possibly a Y2K-like bug.

Salt Lake Tribune: More than 1,000 join search. No sign yet of Lori Hacking, the pregnant jogger who disappeared early yesterday.

And more Salt Lake Tribune: Library user cutting 'bad' words from popular book series. "It seems a library patron has been busy crossing out the 'hells' and 'damns' in books based on the popular 'Murder, She Wrote' TV series and changing them to 'hecks' and 'darns.'"

In a state where one of the most popular expressions is "oh my heck," this doesn't surprise me at all. It's so charmingly... provincial.


CNN.com: Volunteers search for missing pregnant jogger

Lori Hacking
Lori Hacking
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP)—More than 1,200 volunteers Tuesday scoured the steep terrain surrounding a park and canyon in a search for a pregnant woman who apparently vanished while jogging a day earlier.

Lori Kay Hacking, 27, left her Salt Lake home around daybreak Monday to run in the Memory Grove Park and City Creek Canyon area, Detective Dwayne Baird said. After she failed to show up at work later, her husband, Mark Hacking, called police, Baird said.

"I'm just so grateful they are coming to look for her," the woman's mother, Thelma Soares, said as volunteers fanned out along an eight-mile grid in the canyon directly east of the Utah Capitol.

Among the volunteers were relatives of Elizabeth Smart, who was allegedly kidnapped in 2002 by drifters and found with them nine months later in a Salt Lake suburb.

Baird said Lori Hacking was seen by a witness Monday morning when she was stretching near the park; he said her car was found near the front gates of the park.

Police first searched the area Monday using dogs and helicopters; SWAT team members with infrared binoculars were stationed above the canyon Monday night.

Besides being a popular place for runners and cyclers, City Creek Canyon is also home to transients who camp in the brush. Several transients were interviewed Monday as they left the canyon, which has been closed, Baird said.

Mark Hacking also was interviewed by the police in what Baird called routine questioning.

"It's important that he be cleared of any suspicion from the beginning," said his father, Doug Hacking.

Doug Hacking said the couple, married for nearly five years, were not having any marital problems. He said his daughter-in-law had learned Thursday she is five weeks pregnant, and the couple had planned to move next week to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where Mark Hacking is to attend medical school.

The Salt Lake Tribune has an updated story as well, noting Wells Fargo's offer of a $10,000 reward for information leading to Hacking's whereabouts.

This would explain why I've heard helicopters all day. Strangely enough, the couple of times I had my television on to local news, there was no mention of Hacking's disappearance nor of the ongoing search. I find it difficult to believe I managed to tune things out quite that well, even though I do often have the news on just for background noise, as it were.

Stranger still: I live in the Avenues district, and a couple hours ago I drove down B street, which is just one block from City Creek Canyon (Memory Grove is at the south end of the canyon). I saw no signs of unusual activity or anything else out of the ordinary, certainly not groups of searchers or any police cars anywhere. Granted, B Street is a block away from edge of City Creek Canyon, and perhaps the neighborhood search teams just weren't in the area of 9th and 8th Avenues and B Street when I looked toward the west, but I think it's strange I saw nothing of their presence at all.