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Archive for Saturday, October 2, 2004

Body of missing Utah woman discovered in landfill

October 2, 2004

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— Police found Lori Hacking's body in a landfill Friday after picking through the trash for weeks in a search for the young Utah woman allegedly murdered by her husband.

The state medical examiner's office used dental records to identify the remains about six hours after they were discovered.

"It means everything to us to find Lori's mortal remains so that we might lay them to rest with dignity," Hacking's parents, Eraldo and Thelma Soares, said in a statement.

The discovery came on the 33rd working day of a search of 4,600 tons of garbage. Over the past weeks, investigators used cadaver dogs and brought in garden rakes to comb through the trash. About 20 law officers found the remains on Friday.

Hacking, a 27-year-old assistant stock broker, had not been seen since July 18. Her 28-year-old husband, Mark Hacking, reported her missing the following day, saying she never returned from a morning jog.

While he was hospitalized in a psychiatric unit, Mark Hacking allegedly confessed to his brothers that he shot his wife while she was sleeping and disposed of her body, the weapon and a mattress in a trash bin. He was charged with murder and jailed on $1 million bail.

Authorities believe Hacking was killed after she learned her husband was not enrolled in medical school in North Carolina, even though they were preparing to move there. It was the latest in a series of deceptions perpetuated by the husband over several years, police say.

The remains were found among trash that included newspapers dated July 16-19, the weekend Lori Hacking disappeared. Investigators also found business envelopes indicating they were from the University of Utah Research Park area where Mark Hacking worked and where prosecutors believed he dumped the body in the trash.

Police Chief Rick Dinse said the remains found "were not all intact."

Mark Hacking's father, Douglas Hacking, issued a statement saying, "We hope today's discovery will begin to bring closure to both our family and the Soares families in this tragic event."

Investigators' hopes of finding the body had diminished in recent weeks. The search of landfill had been tedious, with each day presenting searchers and dogs with 300 or more tons of trash to sort through.

Searchers had concentrated their search on a football-sized stretch, going through compacted garbage 20 feet deep. They were about two-thirds through the search when they found the body.

"Landfill searches are historically unsuccessful," Dinse said. "Needle in a haystack may not even adequately describe it."

The search was called off Friday, even though police had not found a .22-caliber gun they believe was the murder weapon.

"We were confident we could go forward with the case without a body, and now we have the body," said Assistant Dist. Atty. Robert Stott.

Mark Hacking's attorney, Gil Athay, did not return calls Friday from The Associated Press.

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