Missing pregnant jogger sought in Salt Lake City

Thursday, July 22, 2004

SALT LAKE CITY -- The search for a pregnant woman who apparently vanished during a morning run was expanded Wednesday from a park and canyon into nearby neighborhoods.

Volunteers took fliers door-to-door in downtown Salt Lake City neighborhoods in their search for Lori Kay Hacking, who hasn't been seen since going for a run Monday morning.

Her tearful parents said they assume she has been abducted and pleaded on television for her safe return.

"We want to get Lori's face before the public, all over the country," her mother, Thelma Soares, told KUTV on Wednesday. "We need to find her, and we need all the eyes we can get."

More than 1,200 volunteers scoured the Memory Grove Park and City Creek Canyon area where Hacking, 27, was last seen. The canyon was searched twice Tuesday, but there were no signs of Hacking, and Thelma Soares expressed some relief that her daughter had not been found injured "or worse."

Hacking left her Salt Lake home around daybreak Monday for a run, detective Dwayne Baird said. After she failed to show up at work later, her husband, Mark Hacking, called police, Baird said.

Her car was found parked near the front gates of the park.

The car and one belonging to her husband were confiscated by police.

Police also seized items from the couple's apartment near the University of Utah. Authorities would not say what they removed, but television news footage showed paper bags, boxes and a box spring being taken from the residence.

Police impounded a large trash bin as well but would not confirm reports that investigators were examining a mattress found inside the bin. Detective Kevin Joiner said the bin was "somewhere between Memory Grove and the apartment."

Mark Hacking also was interviewed by police. "It's important that he be cleared of any suspicion from the beginning," said his father, Doug Hacking.

Doug Hacking said the couple were not having any marital problems. Mark and Lori Hacking have been married almost five years, and she learned last week that she is five weeks' pregnant.

They planned to move next week to Chapel Hill, N.C., where Mark Hacking told family members he planned to attend medical school at the University of North Carolina.

But questions arose Wednesday about Hacking's academic career after family members learned he did not graduate from the University of Utah, as he claimed, nor did he apply to medical school.

The University of Utah said Hacking was enrolled from spring 1999 to fall 2002, majoring in intermediate psychology, but never graduated. The University of North Carolina said he never applied.

"The police have been aware of that since yesterday and did not share that with us," Doug Hacking said. "It still doesn't necessarily answer the question, 'What has happened to Lori?"'

Among those who have assisted in the search were relatives of Elizabeth Smart, the girl who vanished from her home in 2002 and was found nine months later in a Salt Lake suburb.

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