A Utah man who two weeks ago told police his pregnant wife was missing was arrested today on a charge of aggravated murder, as police narrowed their search for her to a city landfill.
"We believe that Mark Hacking is responsible for her disappearance and her death," Salt Lake City Police Chief Rick Dinse said at a news conference today.
On Sunday, Lori Kay Hacking's parents abruptly ended a search effort involving more than 4,000 volunteers after Mark Hacking had given investigators "substantive new information" on her whereabouts.
Hacking, who has not given a confession, was under suicide watch at a Salt Lake County jail, Dinse said. Hacking, 28, was arrested this morning as he left the psychiatric ward where he has been since the day after he reported his 27-year-old wife missing.
The body of Lori Hacking has not been recovered, but police said they would resume their search of a city landfill Wednesday, Dinse said.
"The fact that we have to go to a landfill to find a body is not something we are comfortable with," he said. "It's not a pleasant thought."
Police said they believe the homicide happened in the couple's apartment, but did not say how it was committed or what the motive might have been.
D. Gilbert Athay, a defense lawyer Mark Hacking hired last week, had no comment at midday.
The husband, through a relative, directed investigators to a landfill, Det. Dwayne Baird said. Police had combed the landfill in recent days, but the information was specific enough that the woman's parents believed a broader search was no longer necessary.
Lori Hacking has been missing since July 19, when her husband told authorities she failed to return from a morning jog. Hacking was five weeks pregnant at the time.
Mark Hacking initially told police that he had run his wife's jogging route twice — a total of about 12 miles — to try and find her the morning she disappeared.
Investigators said that he was at a furniture store buying a queen-sized mattress that morning. Authorities said they weren't sure that Lori Hacking went running at all that day.
The Hackings also had told relatives that they were preparing to move to Chapel Hill, N.C., so that he could attend medical school at the University of North Carolina. But university officials had no record that he applied for admission, investigators said, and he never graduated from the University of Utah, although his wife was under the impression that he had.