Scott G. Winterton, Deseret Morning News
Mark Hacking's health may have taken a downward turn Monday, just hours after his wife, Lori, reportedly went missing while jogging in Memory Grove.
Officers responded to a "disturbance call" late that night involving the 28-year-old man and quickly determined Hacking was suffering a medical problem, Salt Lake police detective Dwayne Baird said.
The disturbance was not at the Hacking residence near 100 South and 945 East, Baird said, although he would not say where it occurred.
Hacking was reportedly found by police sometime in the middle of the night at the Chase Suite Hotel, 765 E. 400 South, about a half mile from the Hacking apartment, said a hotel staff member who did not want to be identified.
Sources told the Deseret Morning News that Hacking was naked except for a pair of sandals and acting strangely. Citing medical privacy laws, Baird would not confirm whether Hacking was clothed, nor would he discuss Hacking's physical or mental condition.
Hacking was later checked into a psychiatric unit at the University of Utah Medical Center, where his parents, Douglas and Janet Hacking, spent the night with him Wednesday.
Family said Thursday they knew of no previous mental health problems suffered by Mark Hacking or of marital problems between him and Lori. The couple's bishop from a student ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the University of Utah said Mark has never sought counseling of any kind from him. Bishop Barry Packer said he was surprised by developments in the case, but he refused to pass judgment on Mark Hacking.
"My role is to support and love him and just wait to see what unfolds," Packer said.
The couple regularly attended church services, and last Sunday, when Lori was last seen by family members, nothing about them or their life seemed suspicious, Packer said.
Police have said that Lori Hacking, 27, is believed to have last been seen Monday at 5:50 a.m., stretching before a jog in Memory Grove. By 10:49 a.m., her husband of five years called police to report she was missing, she had not reported to work and he had found her car parked outside the grove.
So far, search efforts for the woman by volunteers, police dogs and officers on mounted patrol have been unsuccessful. On Thursday, officers with dogs also conducted searches of Dumpsters in more than a dozen locations along 100 South, according to a report from KSL-TV.
KSL-TV also reported that Mark Hacking bought a new mattress from a local dealer sometime Monday morning. Among items taken from the couple's apartment was a box springs but no mattress.
Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson has also taken keen interest in the Hacking case, City Hall staffers told KSL Radio. The mayor, who has criticized how police handled the Elizabeth Smart case and two unsolved homicides from the late 1970s, is following the investigation closely. Last year after Smart was found, Anderson empaneled an independent commission to review all three cases. That review is on hold until after the cases of Smart's alleged kidnappers have been adjudicated.
"The reason I raised a lot of those issues is to improve performance, and I think from everything I've seen so far (the police) have been very diligent," Anderson said. "I expect that we are not going to see any of those same kind of problems."
Like others, Anderson said the main focus of the current investigation should be to bring Lori Hacking home.
Police hadn't identified a clear suspect in the case Thursday but continue to call Mark Hacking a person of interest. Much of what police first knew about Mark Hacking is now being re-evaluated, after police learned Wednesday that Hacking had told numerous lies.
"Because of what we learned yesterday, we have had to kind of research everything that he's told us," Baird said.
Among the stories Hacking concocted were his recent graduation from the University of Utah and plans for medical school in North Carolina. The stories were so elaborate that Hacking even sent out fictitious graduation announcements to friends and family, several sources said.
Hacking did not, however, lie about his wife being newly pregnant. One of Mark's sisters had actually seen the results of the home pregnancy kit used by Lori, family members said Thursday.
During an all-night conversation with his parents at the hospital Wednesday, Mark Hacking said he had felt pressure to measure up and so wove stories about his present and future life, his father, Douglas Hacking, said.
"He talked a bit about his deception to us and how it kind of got started two years ago," Douglas Hacking said, apologizing for not having slept, showered or changed clothes since appearing at a news conference the day before. "He has two older brothers who are high achievers; one is a physician, one's an electrical engineer. (Mark) felt he was under some pressure to excel as well."
With those deceptions revealed, Mark Hacking is feeling relieved, his father said, but he is also incapacitated with grief.
"He feels like a heavy load is lifted and (has) come to an end," Douglas Hacking said. "He is still grieving about Lori. He wishes he could be out there."
Mark's brother, Lance Hacking, 34, of Austin, Texas, said the family understands police must look closely at his brother, other family members or people close to them in order to follow every lead. At a Thursday afternoon press conference at the church where the search is being coordinated, he said they still believe Mark is not involved in Lori's disappearance.
That belief is based on several puzzle pieces in the case, including Lori's abandoned car and a witness who said she saw a woman matching Lori's description outside the park Monday, Lance Hacking said.
"I have to base my personal feelings on those facts. In my mind that leaves an abduction as a strong candidate," he said.
"The thing that makes me not concerned as far as Lori goes is . . . Mark's mannerisms to Lori have been ideal from the very start. He's a loving, gentle husband. That's the Mark we know. That is the Mark that we see every day."
And Lori Hacking's father shook his head "no" when asked Thursday if his faith in his son-in-law had wavered.
"Mark is a wonderful person. I love him, and I'll stand by him," Herald Soares said. "I think that once you start to lie, you have to keep lying, and that sucker will double and double on you. I think he did what he did because he didn't want to disappoint his father."
Mark's lies have not caused any discord between the Hacking and Soares families, he added.
"The two families have met together every day," he said. "If you were to look into the room, you would see hugs, prayers."
But Lance Hacking also acknowledged that his brother's lies could keep people away from search efforts, and he may be right.About 170 people volunteered to search for Lori Hacking on Thursday. That's down from Wednesday, when slightly fewer than 300 volunteers helped and from Tuesday's high of 1,200 volunteers.
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