Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Lori Hacking

The Discovery of Lori

On October 1, 2004, after a little more than two months since Lori was reported missing, her body was finally found at the Salt Lake County Landfill. According to Ashley Broughton of the Salt Lake Tribune, police Sgt. J. R. Nelson made the heart-wrenching discovery after sifting through garbage by hand and was quoted saying, "I pulled this group of trash out of a bag and hair came out of the bag." He further stated that upon closer inspection he saw that the bag also contained what appeared to be a human jawbone and teeth.

Searching for Lori's body at the Salt Lake County Landfill
Searching for Lori's body at the Salt Lake County Landfill

The area was quickly enclosed and treated as a crime scene. Investigators worked for hours gathering Lori's remains and other evidence that might be used during the murder trial. Despite advanced decomposition, it didn't take long for the human remains to be identified as those of Lori Hacking.

Lori and Mark's families expressed "a mixture of grief and relief," Matt Canham of the Salt Lake Tribune reported. The newspaper printed a press release by the family in which they thanked the police and all of those who contributed in the search for Lori. They also stated that they were relieved that her "mortal remains" would finally be laid to rest "with dignity befitting the valiant daughter of God she was." Mark Hacking also expressed relief that Lori had finally been found.

Lori's mom Thelma Soares
Lori's mom Thelma Soares

Unfortunately, the medical examiners were unable to determine whether Lori was pregnant due to the condition of the body. Moreover, they were unable to find the rifle that ended Lori's life. None-the-less, prosecutors believe that with the discovery of her body, their case was significantly strengthened because they were able to prove that she was actually murdered.

Mark Hacking
Mark Hacking

On October 30, 2004, Mark attended his arraignment hearing at the 3rd District Court. To the surprise of Lori's family, Mark's lawyers entered a plea of "not guilty." They hoped that the defense team would change its strategy, especially after the discovery of Lori's body but they did not. Hunt said that Lori's mother, Thelma Soares, "berated her son-in-law for prolonging her family's agony" and quoted her as saying, "In pleading not guilty, Mark continues to hurt us."

Mark is charged with a felony count of first-degree murder, as well as second-degree felony counts for obstruction of justice because he lied to investigators and tried to dispose of evidence.  If convicted, he could face up to life in prison. His trial is expected to begin in late April 2005.

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