Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Police on Friday said they recovered what they believe are human remains at the Salt Lake County landfill in an area where investigators have been looking for the body of Lori Hacking.
Authorities have spent weeks combing through 4,600 tons of trash looking for Hacking, 27, who hasn't been seen since July 18. Her husband, Mark Hacking, reported her missing the following day, saying she never returned from a morning jog.
Mark Hacking has been charged with killing her. He allegedly confessed to his brothers, while he was hospitalized in a psychiatric unit, that he shot his wife while she was sleeping and disposed of her body, the weapon and a mattress in a trash bin.
A volunteer found the remains about 8:20 a.m. as searchers using rakes pored over an area not previously probed by cadaver dogs. Investigators did not detail what was found.
Police were careful to say the remains appeared to be human, but that testing was necessary to confirm that. It could take two weeks before investigators know for sure.
"Odds are, if it's human, it's Lori," said Salt Lake City Police Detective Phil Eslinger.
Even though her body had not been found, Mark Hacking was charged with murder, and is being held on $1 million bail at the county jail.
Searchers at the 550-acre landfill had concentrated their search on a football-sized stretch, going through compacted garbage 20 feet deep.
The remains were found among trash that included newspapers dated July 16-19, the weekend Lori Hacking disappeared. They also found business envelopes indicating they were from the University of Utah Research Park area where Mark Hacking worked. That is also the area where prosecutors believe the husband dumped his wife's body in a trash bin.
The landfill search will continue in other sections.
Mark Hacking's parents did not immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press seeking comment.
His attorney, Gil Athay, also did not return a call seeking comment.
David Gehris, a family friend of Lori's mother, Thelma Soares, said Thelma wouldn't comment on the case until police confirmed that the remains belonged to her daughter.
Homicide detectives sent up a tent awning over the remains and are continuing to look for even the smallest evidence. Forensic experts from the state crime lab and the state medical examiner's office. Officials said dental records may be used to identify the remains.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)