- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 3, 2004

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A man whose credibility began crumbling the day he first reported his pregnant wife missing was arrested yesterday in her death, just before his scheduled release from a psychiatric ward.

Investigators think Lori Hacking, 27, was killed in the couple’s apartment and that her body is buried somewhere under 3,000 tons of trash at the county landfill. The landfill was expected to be searched again tomorrow.

Her husband, Mark Hacking, reported her missing July 19. He was hospitalized after he was seen running around naked outside a motel, hours after making an emotional appeal on television that day for help in searching for her.

Although Mrs. Hacking’s body has not been found, police said they had gathered enough evidence — including the murder weapon — to bring charges against her husband.

“The evidence gathered strongly indicated Lori was the victim of a homicide and that Mark Hacking is the individual responsible,” said Salt Lake City Police Chief Rick Dinse.

Police have not charged Mr. Hacking formally. By law, prosecutors have 72 hours to do so, although they can seek an extension.

Mr. Hacking, 28, made no admission of guilt at his arrest and is on a suicide watch, Chief Dinse said.

Chief Dinse said police have no proof that Mrs. Hacking was five weeks pregnant, as she had told friends and relatives. He said that if a body is found and the pregnancy is confirmed, prosecutors could add a murder charge later.

Detectives have identified a motive and found the weapon used to kill Mrs. Hacking, Chief Dinse said. He declined to elaborate. Chief Dinse and the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office said failure to find the body would not hinder the case.

The couple’s families were alerted to the arrest before a public announcement.

“My family and I are profoundly anguished to lose Lori,” her mother, Thelma Soares, said yesterday through a spokesman. “We will grieve for her and miss her until the day we die.”

Mrs. Soares also reached out to Mr. Hacking’s family, saying they “shared this double tragedy with us.” Messages left yesterday for Mr. Hacking’s family were not returned.

Mr. Hacking’s credibility was questioned after revelations that he had lied to his wife about enrolling at medical school in North Carolina and about graduating from the University of Utah.

“We believed very early in the investigation that she may have been a victim of a crime and her husband may have been responsible,” Chief Dinse said.

Mrs. Hacking’s car was found at a park where her husband said she went for a jog early morning July 19, and Chief Dinse said police recovered evidence from it. He wouldn’t elaborate.

Other evidence that led to Mr. Hacking’s arrest include items taken from the apartment and a nearby trash bin. Police have not specified the items.

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