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Tonya Papanikolas ReportingTwo and a half weeks after searchers recovered Lori Hacking's remains at the Salt Lake County landfill, the autopsy report is back. A lot of people hoped Lori's autopsy would show how she was murdered and help answer a lot of questions about the case. But it looks like science won't be proving how she died.
Lori's remains were found on October 1 at the Salt Lake County landfill. They were sent to the medical examiner's office. It took awhile to get the autopsy results back. Today the District Attorney's office said it had received the report and because Lori's remains were so fragmented and decomposed, the Medical Examiner was not able to determine the exact cause of death.
This implies no bullets or fragments were recovered in her skull.
Bob Stott, Chief Deputy District Attorney: “Because of, again, the condition of the body, the skull, they were able to make no determination if it was a gunshot or anything. And so that’s why it was an undetermined cause of death.
Gil Athay, Mark Hacking's Defense Attorney: “We’re proceeding just as we were yesterday, nothing has really changed today. We’re still proceeding, preparing, getting ready, developing what needs to be developed, and preparing as though this case will go to trial.”
The District Attorney's office says it will also continue to prosecute the case as planned.
The medical examiner was not able to determine if Lori was pregnant so there's no chance the charges could be raised to capitol homicide, which carries the death penalty.
Gil Athay admits if the autopsy had shown Lori was shot in the head, it would have been substantial. Both sides say today's news doesn't hurt their case. Athay says it doesn't necessarily help his, either. He says his client is still pleading not guilty.