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Families urge focus on finding Lori Hacking

Husband told his father he had nothing to do with her disappearance

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Lori Hacking
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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (CNN) -- The families of Lori and Mark Hacking pleaded Friday for reporters and the public to bring their attention back to the missing Utah woman and away from speculation and rumors about her husband's behavior.

Mark Hacking, who was taken into the psychiatric unit of a hospital 24 hours after reporting his wife missing on Monday, is undergoing psychological testing and is on medication, his father said.

"I confronted my son yesterday," Douglas Hacking said. "I looked him in the eye and I said, 'Did you have anything to do with Lori's disappearance?' And he said, 'No.'

"I know a lot of you will say, 'How can you believe that,' but I wanted you to know that part of it."

Salt Lake City police detectives have described Mark Hacking as a "person of interest" but not a suspect.

"I have loved Mark for many, many years," Lori's mother, Thelma Soares, said. "... He's like a son to me. We're all concerned about Mark. Both families, we're concerned about Mark. We don't understand what has happened.

"But we know where Mark is. We don't know where Lori is. She's the one we have to find."

Mark Hacking reported Lori missing Monday morning, saying she had not returned from a morning jog. Her car was found near the area she went to run, and a witness there reported seeing a woman fitting Lori Hacking's description stretching that morning.

Douglas Hacking said that his son and Lori were planning to move to North Carolina, where Mark had said he had been accepted by a medical school. But on Wednesday, the families learned that was a lie -- as were his stories of graduating from the University of Utah and being accepted at two other schools.

By Thursday, Salt Lake City Police said they had learned that Mark initially telephoned friends around 10 a.m. Monday to say Lori was missing and telephoned police about 50 minutes later. In between, he was at a furniture store buying a queen-size mattress.

On Monday night, police were called to a Salt Lake City hotel, where they found Mark Hacking and requested medical assistance. From there Mark was taken in for psychiatric care, his father said.

"Everybody's aware he was taken to the hospital early Tuesday morning after having somewhat crashed psychologically," Douglas Hacking said. "I know you want details on that and those details will come out [later]."

Authorities impounded Mark Hacking's car after his wife disappeared, and their apartment was searched. A nearby Dumpster was removed for further scrutiny. On Thursday, police confiscated a box spring from the Hackings' apartment and used trained dogs to search several other garbage bins in the area.

Salt Lake City Police did not return calls to CNN to confirm the reports.

Elizabeth Read, a co-worker of Lori's, said the couple, married for five years, worked different schedules -- Mark, from 3 p.m. to midnight, and Lori from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Douglas Hacking said Wednesday he had spoken with his son about the lies. Mark told him he "felt under some pressure to excel" because one of his brothers was a doctor and the other an engineer, he said. "He's relieved it's come to an end."

On Friday, Hacking said the family was "completely blindsided" by his son's lies.

"We've gone back and said, 'Did we see it coming?' and I have to say we didn't see it coming," he said. "We got completely blindsided by this, emotionally, psychologically. We did not see this coming."

Hacking would not offer many details of what his son had said or about his current condition, but said he had been with him earlier Friday and he was "doing well."

"He's getting good psychiatric care. He's in good hands," he said. "He's on medication, and he's being tested with psychological testing, and everybody's trying to sort out what's going on in his mind."

Thelma Soares, the missing woman's mother, begged for anyone to give "any time at all, even an hour today and an hour tomorrow" to the search for her daughter.

"We're all aware of all of the rumors and speculations about this case that are flying everywhere," she said. "They're being handled by the proper authorities, the professionals.

"I'm removing myself from all of that," she said, breaking into tears, "because my baby is still out there somewhere and we need to find her."

CNN's Kimberly Osias contributed to this report.

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