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Tonya Papanikolas Reporting In the waning days of December, we here at KSL-TV News look back at the top ten Utah stories of the year. So far we have covered the Michael Moore controversy, the deaths of two LDS apostles, the Mars Genesis crash, the drought, the search for a boy missing in the Uinta mountains, the disappearance of a Utah marine, Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun, the election of new Governor John Huntsman Jr., the amazing season of the University of Utah runnin' Utes, and the legal troubles of Mayor Nancy Workman. And tonight, our number one story -- the search for Lori Hacking.
The state and the country were riveted when Hacking allegedly disappeared while jogging in July. But it was soon discovered that there was much more to the story.
On Monday, July 19th, Lori Hacking's family awoke to a nightmare. Lori had disappeared. Her car was found at Memory Grove, and her husband Mark said she never made it to work after her morning jog.
Mark Hacking, Murder Suspect: “I called her at about 10:00 to say hi and just see how she was doing, and they told me she, she never made it in this morning."
Police, family members and thousands of volunteers began searching. But soon officers shifted their focus to Mark. They discovered he'd lied about his education. After a breakdown at a Salt Lake hotel he was admitted to a psychiatric ward. Shocked family members were left with some tough questions.
Janet Hacking, Mark Hacking's Mother: “I have worried and gone over in my mind, excuse me (crying), what could have happened.”
Douglas Hacking, Mark Hacking's Father: “I confronted my son yesterday morning. I looked him in the eye and said, ‘I need you to tell me if you had anything to do with Lori’s disappearance.’ I have to tell you that he looked me in the eye and he said, ‘No.’”
Thelma Soares, Lori Hacking's Mother: “I desperately wanted to believe him. But way down deep, something said he’s lying again.”
News soon emerged that Hacking had confessed to his brothers in the hospital. Eventually, Hacking was arrested and charged. Those charges revealed details of the state's case and their theory on Lori's murder.
David Yocom, Salt Lake County District Attorney: “He walked into the bedroom where his wife slept and shot her in the head with a 22 caliber rifle.”
Police believed Hacking deposited Lori's body in a dumpster. So cadaver dogs and then law enforcement volunteers searched the Salt Lake County landfill. Almost two and a half months after Lori disappeared, a searcher found her remains.
Sgt. J.R. Nelson, Found Lori's Remains: “I’m just happy for the family that they’re gonna be able to get some closure on this.”
Lori's family could now plan a funeral and lay their beloved daughter to rest.
Thelma Soares: “My religious belief is in the resurrection, her body will be whole and beautiful again, as it was."
Now Mark Hacking is awaiting trial. He has plead "not guilty" and his fate may lie in the hands of a jury.