Family of missing jogger shies away from media talks
Monday, July 26, 2004
SALT LAKE CITY -- The family of a missing pregnant woman said Sunday they were clinging to diminishing hopes of finding her alive, and ap-pointed a spokesman after a week of nearly constant media coverage.
"We are all exhausted and we feel we need to concentrate our efforts and our energies on finding Lori," said Thelma Soares, Lori Hacking's mother.
The family had been holding as many as two news conferences a day since the 27-year-old woman was reported missing a week ago. But they have been more reluctant to face reporters since questions arose about the credibility of Hacking's husband, Mark.
Scott Dunaway, a leader in Soares' church and the family's new spokesman, said they had learned little as far as new developments in the investigation.
A clump of brown hair was found Saturday in a trash bin at a gas station less than a block from the store where Mark Hacking bought a mattress before reporting his wife missing last Monday. But police say they don't know whether the hair was Lori's.
Detective Dwayne Baird, a police spokesman, wouldn't confirm or deny a Deseret Morning News report, citing unnamed sources, that a bloody knife with strands of hair was among items taken from the Hackings' apartment.
"We took a lot of things out of that apartment," Baird said. He said police were still waiting on test results from a search of the apartment and surrounding area.
Baird said Mark Hacking, 28, was still a "person of interest" in the case, but he would not elaborate.
Mark Hacking reported his wife missing just days before they were to move to North Carolina, where he had said he was going to attend medical school. But he had lied to his wife and family -- he had not been accepted to any medical school and never even graduated from college.
He also had initially said his wife did not wake him up after coming home from an early morning jog, as usual, and never showed up to work. But police confirmed Friday that Mark Hacking was at a furniture store buying a new mattress just before reporting to police that Lori was missing.
He has been under psychiatric care since police found him Tuesday running naked around a motel not far from his home.
Lori Hacking's family and her in-laws have said they want to keep the focus on finding Lori, not Mark's inconsistent statements.
"We continue to entertain all possibilities and we are prepared for whatever the outcome may be," Douglas Hacking, Mark's father, said in a written statement given to The Associated Press. "We would like to think Mark had no part in it. Our love for him has not changed and our ultimate goal is still to bring Lori home."