Husband offers information in missing jogger case

Woman's parents call off the search effort in Utah

August 02, 2004|By Scott Gold | Scott Gold,LOS ANGELES TIMES

SALT LAKE CITY - The husband of a missing Utah woman has given "substantive new information" to investigators about her whereabouts, a police spokesman said yesterday, as the woman's parents abruptly ended a search effort that had involved more than 4,000 volunteers.

The husband, through a relative, has directed investigators to an area landfill, Salt Lake City police Detective Dwayne Baird said. Police had combed the landfill in recent days, but the information was specific enough that the woman's parents felt a search was no longer necessary.

One family friend said it appeared that the mystery of Lori Kay Hacking's disappearance was about to be resolved. An answer would bring some measure of relief to a community that has searched, prayed and fasted together in hopes of her safe return, the friend said - even if it confirms residents' worst fears.

Hacking, 27, of Salt Lake City, has been missing since the morning of July 19, when Mark Hacking, 28, called police to report that his wife had never returned from a jog.

The case attracted national attention in part because Mark Hacking was caught in a series of deceptions and was declared a "person of interest" in his wife's disappearance.

Mark Hacking has not been charged with a crime. He currently is in a psychiatric ward.

His parents and Lori Hacking's parents issued a joint statement to reporters this weekend, suggesting that there was no longer a need to search for her.

The statement said that Mark Hacking had provided information that "makes it unnecessary for individuals or groups to continue."

Mark Hacking initially told police that he had run his wife's jogging route twice - an estimated 12-mile run - to find her the morning she disappeared. Investigators have said Hacking was at a local furniture store buying a new queen-size mattress that morning. Authorities say they aren't sure that Lori Hacking went running at all that day.

The Hackings also had told relatives that they were preparing to move to Chapel Hill, N.C., so Mark Hacking could attend medical school at the University of North Carolina. But university officials have no record that he even applied for admission, investigators said, and he never graduated from the University of Utah, although his wife was under the impression that he had.

The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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