Police: 'Probably foul play involved'
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (CNN)—The parents of a missing pregnant woman's husband told reporters Wednesday they had just learned that their son lied about being accepted to a medical school in North Carolina.
Mark Hacking has been questioned by police about his missing wife and authorities have impounded his car. He is not under arrest.
"Mark Hacking is in a safe place and we've been talking to him," said Salt Lake City Police Detective Kevin Joiner in a phone interview with CNN.
"We're not ruling anyone out and not ruling any possibilities out."
He said Lori Hacking is considered a "missing person under very suspicious circumstances" and added there is "probably foul play involved."
Douglas Hacking, Mark's father, said he and his wife were under the impression that their son had applied and been accepted to medical school at a university in North Carolina, as well as two other schools in other states.
Hacking had told friends and family that he and his wife were in the process of moving to the Carolinas.
"He never even applied to medical school in North Carolina," Douglas Hacking said.
Joiner said authorities had learned that Mark Hacking had not applied to medical school in North Carolina early in their investigation.
Lori Hacking was reported missing early Monday morning. A witness reported seeing her stretching beside her car at Memory Grove Park just before dawn, Joiner said, but police have not been able to confirm that report.
Her car was found at the park and impounded, the detective said. Authorities also searched the couple's apartment, Joiner said, and took some items from that search.
The investigation also led police to a Dumpster, which was removed for further scrutiny, Joiner said.
The couple had recently found out that Lori, 27, was expecting a baby.
Douglas Hacking said the news that their son had lied to them was "shocking" and "distressing."
"We do need to talk to Mark about that, to try to understand better what's going on," he said at a news conference.
The elder Hacking said his son and Lori, who have been married for five years, had gone to North Carolina recently and had even picked out an apartment there. They had also packed up their belongings and had arranged for a moving truck.
"He and I were going to drive out there and tow their spare car behind his car," Douglas Hacking said.
"I have no explanation for this new development, I just can't understand it, and I won't speculate beyond that.
"It still doesn't necessarily answer the question as to what happened to Lori. It might impact that somehow but right now we don't know."
More than 1,000 volunteers have combed Memory Grove Park, where Lori was last reported seen. The park, part of which is a canyon, lies at the northern edge of Salt Lake City.
Joiner said professional search and rescue crews had also looked through the area.
Thelma Soares, Lori's mother, tearfully begged for her daughter's return.
"My statement is that Lori is still missing and there is nothing more important that finding Lori and bringing her back, please help us find her," she said at the news conference.
When asked if she would talk to Mark Hacking, she answered, "I don't know."
Salt Lake Tribune: Update: Holes appear in husband's story
Article last updated: 07/21/2004 05:39:55 PM
The husband of a missing 27-year-old Salt Lake City woman never enrolled in a North Carolina medical school, his shocked family members acknowledged Wednesday just moments after police told them of the development.
Mark Hacking's relatives had said he and wife Lori were planning to move to North Carolina next week.
But his father, Douglas Hacking, said Wednesday that family members found out his son apparently never applied to the medical school.
Family members initially said Mark Hacking had graduated from the University of Utah with a psychology degree and was employed at the U.'s Neuropsychiatric Institute as an orderly.
Sondra Miller, senior associate registrar at the U., said Wednesday the school had no record of Mark Hacking's graduation, but said he attended school there between spring 1999 and fall 2002.
Officials at the Neuropsychiatric Institute said Wednesday Mark Hacking is currently employed there.
Mark Hacking was absent from the search headquarters Tuesday, and family members said he was in a safe place.
Police said they had searched the couple's apartment and had impounded both of their cars, but would not say what evidence was collected.
Douglas Hacking promised to discuss the discrepancy in his son's story with Mark later this evening and will hold another press conference in the morning.
The family could not say how this information may be involved in Lori Hacking's disappearance.