SALT LAKE CITY — Saturday marked the 10th anniversary of the murder of Lori Hacking. It was a case with many deceptive twists and turns that drew international attention.
“Losing Lori has been the worst thing that has ever happened to me,” Lori’s mother, Thelma Soares, said in a recent interview with KSL News.
Throughout her home, Soares talked fondly about photos of Lori taken throughout her life, along with framed baby clothes, yearbooks and various other memorials to her daughter.
On July 19, 2004, Lori’s husband, Mark Hacking, called 911 to report that his wife failed to return from jogging in Salt Lake's City’s Memory Grove. A massive search effort was soon underway.
“On the day she disappeared, I was walking up in Memory Grove,” Soares said. “So many people had come to search for her. I don’t know how the news got out so fast.”
Over the next weeks and months, a strange and deceptive story would unfold. Investigators uncovered a string of lies from Mark Hacking. They found his claim to have graduated from the University of Utah to be untrue. His acceptance to medical school in North Carolina, where he and Lori were planning to move, was also a lie.
“It’s still hard to go back and talk about those days that were awful, were terrible,” Soares said.
Following Lori's death, Soares appeared on national talk shows and was often invited to be a guest speaker at various events. In recent years, however, she has declined, saying it's too difficult.
“You never get over it; I’m not over it now. I will never get over it,” Soares said. “What you get over is the immediacy of it; you get over the shock and disbelief.”
Soares said she has forgiven Mark Hacking, for her own sake, and has even exchanged letters with him from prison. He is currently serving a 15-years-to-life term and won't be eligible for parole until 2035.
“In a way, it just seems like it was just the other day,” Soares said. “I can’t imagine how 10 years have gone by.”
A scholarship fund was set up in Lori's name at the University of Utah. Soares said the recipients are women who have overcome challenges to get into college.