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Grand Junction Case Very Similar to Hacking Disappearance

Grand Junction Case Very Similar to Hacking Disappearance

Posted - Aug. 26, 2004 at 10:01 p.m.



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Amanda Butterfield ReportingAs unreal as the circumstances surrounding Lori Hacking's disappearance may seem, it's happened before, or something very close to it. Three years ago in Grand Junction, Colorado, a wife disappeared and was later found in the landfill. The suspect was her husband.

Michael Blagg was convicted only months ago for shooting his wife while she slept, and dumping her body in a dumpster where he worked. It happened nearly three years ago:

Blagg called 9-11, reporting his wife Jennifer and 6-year old daughter Abbey missing with a pool of blood left behind. Quickly a massive community search gets under way, and Michael pleads for help.

Michael Blagg, Convicted Murderer: “There’s not a day that goes by I’m not wondering, are they okay?”

Thousands of volunteers scoured the desert near where the Blaggs lived and knocked on neighbors doors -- the same way searchers here did in hopes of finding Lori. In both cases, nothing.

By this time in the Hacking case, Mark had been admitted to a psychiatric unit after he was picked up by police wandering naked near a motel. Michael Blagg was also admitted to a psychiatric unit, after being found naked in his bathtub with wrists slit -- a suicide attempt.

Mark allegedly confessed to killing Lori, but Michael maintained his innocence.

Michael Blagg, Convicted Murderer: "I don't have any idea what happened to them. I want to know what happened to them."

Seven months went by and the sheriff's department began searching the Mesa County landfill. Employees at the landfill gave police an idea where trash from Michaels work would have been dumped on the day Jennifer and Abbey went missing. For over two weeks hundreds of buckets of trash were scooped up by a backhoe, and spread out for investigators to sift through.

Finally, on day 16, a body part was spotted; later Jennifer's entire body was recovered. Michael was arrested, charged, and will spend the rest of his life in prison. Abbey, the six year old, has never been found.

Prosecutors say Blagg's motive for killing Jennifer was she threatened to leave him because of an unhappy marriage, and Blagg had a secret life involving escort services and pornography.

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