Shot and thrown in bin
But why on earth would anyone want this beloved daughter and mum-to-be dead?
Lori Hacking was a regular sight on the roads near her home in Salt Lake City, Utah. A keen runner, she’d head out three times a week before or after work. Life was changing for Lori and her husband Mark. High-school sweethearts, they were about to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary. And Mark, 28, who’d proudly graduated from the University of Utah with honours, had just been accepted to medical school in North Carolina. Plus Lori was expecting – five weeks gone. But none of that slowed her down. On 19 July 2004, at about 5.30am, Lori left their apartment and headed to Salt Lake City’s Memory Grove Park for an early-morning run. When she’d not returned by 10.49am, a concerned Mark called 911 to report that his wife had not come home from her jog. With a recent kidnap case in the city – of a 14-year-old girl – fresh in people’s minds, a search was soon launched. A tearful Mark publicly thanked all the volunteers who’d come forward to help. ‘It really blows me out of the water to see how many people are willing to give up so much of themselves,’ he said. Soon, Lori’s car was found, still parked near the front gates of Memory Grove, but there was nothing to give any clues as to what had happened or where she was.
Several hours later, at about 2am on 20 July, police were called to a disturbance at the Chase Suite Hotel, which was about half a mile from the Hackings’ apartment.
Police found Mark Hacking running around naked except for his shoes.
A distraught husband demented with worry? Or was there another explanation?
Mark was checked into a psychiatric unit – and, in the days that followed, the police uncovered a web of lies that shocked the world.
It turned out Mark had never graduated from the University of Utah, nor been admitted to college in North Carolina.
Colleagues remembered seeing Lori leaving work in tears after receiving a phone call on the Friday before her disappearance.
Some said she’d been arranging housing at the medical school where she believed Mark was about to start and had got a phone call back from them.
Was she crying because they’d revealed Mark’s lies?
Just four days later, Mark eventually admitted to his brothers that he’d killed Lori and dumped her body in a rubbish bin.
Police and volunteers continued searching tirelessly for Lori’s body.
And that August Mark Hacking was arrested on suspicion of aggravated murder.
The police said they had enough evidence, even though a body had not been found.
Official documents revealed that Mark had told someone in the Psychiatric Ward that he’d killed his wife as she slept, and then threw her body in the refuse bin. Paperwork from the Sheriff’s Department also said that human blood was found on a knife in the bedroom of the Hackings’ apartment, and on the couple’s headboard and bedrail.
On 10 August, Hacking was charged with first-degree murder.
It emerged that he confessed that he and Lori had been arguing on the night of 18 July, when she’d discovered that he’d been lying about his education.
And early on 19 July, he walked into their bedroom and shot Lori in the head. He then wrapped her body in rubbish bags and put it in a bin.
Hacking was also charged with three counts of obstructing justice.
Police made public details
Colleagues recalled Lori leaving work in tears
of a letter which was seemingly written by Lori to Mark, in which she said, I hate coming home from work because it hurts to be in our apartment... I can’t imagine life with you if things don’t change. I got someone I don’t know I want to spend the rest of my life with unless changes are made.
Meanwhile, the hunt for Lori’s body continued.
Finally, on 1 October, about three months after Lori went missing, volunteers found her decomposed remains in a landfill site.
It’s believed that her family wanted Hacking to plead guilty to avoid a trial, and in April 2005, he did.
Mark Hacking pleaded guilty to first-degree felony murder in exchange for the dismissal of three counts of second-degree felony obstruction of justice.
He made a simple statement of guilt to the judge in 3rd District Court: ‘I intentionally shot Lori Hacking in the head with a .22 rifle.’
Lori’s father said that hearing the news was like ‘a knife going right through my heart’.
Her mother said that the question at the top of her list was,‘why?’ In June 2005, Hacking was sentenced to six years to life in prison. As for his motive? The 29-year-old said he had no excuse for his behaviour. ‘She didn’t do nothing but love me unconditionally, even when I didn’t deserve it. She was the greatest thing that ever happened to me, but I killed her and took the life of my unborn child and put them in the garbage, and I can’t explain why I did it,’ he said to the judge. He went on to say that he was ‘tormented every waking minute’ by what he did. Mark was later told by the state Board of Pardons and Parole in Salt Lake City that he will spend 29 more years in prison before he gets a parole hearing. They set a date of 1 August 2034 for that review. Ten years after her daughter’s death, Lori’s mother, Thelma Soares, gave an interview in which she said that she’d forgiven Mark for what he’d done but ‘will never get over it’.
Her dad said it was like a knife through the heart
The killer’s lies kept the cruel charade going
The happy couple