Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Lori Hacking

Unraveling the Lies

Scott and Lance Hacking
Scott and Lance Hacking

Less than a week following Lori's disappearance, the police gathered a significant amount of evidence, which pointed to the possibility that Mark had murdered Lori in their apartment sometime in the early morning hours of July 20th and disposed of her body in an unknown location later that same day. The investigators' suspicions were confirmed on July 25, 2004 when they received critical information from Scott and Lance Hacking, who claimed that their brother Mark had made a startling confession.

On July 24th, Lance and Scott went to the psychiatric ward where Mark was admitted and pleaded for him to tell them what happened to Lori, Mathew LaPlante reported in an August 30, 2004 article in The Salt Lake Tribune. LaPlante said that the brothers gave Mark the afternoon to think it over. When they returned later that evening Mark admitted that he had indeed murdered Lori.

The precise events leading up to Lori's murder are as yet unclear. However, what is known is that while she was at work on Friday, July 16th, she called the University of North Carolina medical school to get information concerning financial aid and learned that her husband was not enrolled there, Travis Reed wrote in an August 10, 2004 AP article. AP.'s Foy reported that Lori's colleagues noticed she was "visibly upset" after the phone call and that she "started to cry." She then left work early and went home, probably to confront Mark.

Court documents stated that around 5 p.m. that day, Lori called an employee at the University of North Carolina and left a voicemail that suggested that Mark told her the reason why he was not enrolled was due to a computer malfunction. It appeared as if Mark fabricated another story because there was no known computer malfunction and records indicated that he was never enrolled at the school. Yet, Lori may have believed his story of the computer malfunction because later that night, the couple went to a party at her supervisor's mountain cabin and they seemed to be getting along well, Howlett stated in her article.

However, the lie would resurface again on the evening of Sunday, July 18th. According to Travis Reed, Mark admitted to Lori that he "lied about his education and future plans," which resulted in an argument between the couple. Reed reported that after the argument Lori went to bed and Mark stayed up, played Nintendo games and then packed some moving boxes. Court documents stated that during the packing, Mark allegedly came across a .22-caliber rifle. Then at around 1 a.m., he went into the bedroom where Lori was sleeping and shot her in the head. 

Mark told his brothers that after he murdered Lori, he wrapped her body up in some garbage bags and the bloody top of the mattress, which he cut away with a knife, then disposed of her body in a Dumpster at around 2 a.m., Paul Foy reported on August 11, 2004. Mark purportedly disposed of the bloodied mattress in a church trash bin and the gun in another unidentified Dumpster. The following day, Scott and Lance Hacking told the police of their brother's gruesome confession.

Mark Hacking in custody
Mark Hacking in custody

The revelation led to Mark's arrest on August 2, 2004 and his subsequent transfer from the psychiatric clinic to Salt Lake County Jail. He was officially charged with 1st degree murder and three counts of obstructing justice one week later. His bail was initially posted at $500,000 but later increased to one million dollars.

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