A bloodstained knife with strands of hair attached is among the evidence Salt Lake police seized from the apartment of Mark and Lori Hacking, sources told the Deseret Morning News Saturday.
The knife is among numerous items taken including a set of box springs, some bedding and computers from the couple's home in the six days since the newly pregnant Lori Hacking reportedly went missing while taking a sunrise jog Monday in Memory Grove.
The knife may or may not be a key piece of evidence for Salt Lake police trying to solve the mystery of Lori Hacking's disappearance. But police weren't confirming, denying or even talking about the evidence on Saturday.
"We're not going to talk about anything of evidentiary value," police detective Dwayne Baird said.
After learning about the knife late Saturday, Mark Hacking's brother, Lance Hacking, had this to say:
"You know, we have confidence in law enforcement and their ability to handle the investigation. In the meantime, we're gonna continue to focus on the search for Lori."
Despite days of searching by hundreds of volunteers, Lori Hacking, 27, has yet to be found. Mark, her husband of five years, has spent much of the past week under the care of doctors in a psychiatric unit at the University of Utah Medical Center.
Also on Saturday, a clump of dark hair was retrieved by evidence technicians from a Dumpster at a Chevron gas station at 2100 S. 300 West. A station attendant reported the finding to police, Salt Lake police detective Phil Eslinger said.
It too will be added to the growing cache of evidence being evaluated, and it may not necessarily be connected to the case, he added.
"We're looking into everything," Eslinger said.
The gas station is less than two blocks from Bradley's Sleep Etc., 2255 S. 300 West, where Mark Hacking bought a new mattress Monday, just 26 minutes before reporting Lori's disappearance to police.
In other developments Saturday, cable's Fox News reported that police sources told the television network they had found bloodstains in the Hacking's apartment. That information blind-sided family members and police.
Baird said he did not know if those reports were "accurate or inaccurate."
"I'm not at liberty to discuss what it is as far as the investigative aspect goes," he said. "We have procedures that we deal with, and if it's evidentiary in nature, we're not going to discuss that. And certainly if it has to do with testing, that you're naming the results of that testing, we don't have it."
A plea for help
Earlier in the day, as Utah families and visitors gathered on Salt Lake City's Main Street for an enjoyable morning of watching the parade, Lori Hacking's parents continued to plead for help in finding their missing daughter.
"She's still out there somewhere. We need your help to find her," her mother, Thelma Soares, said tearfully. "Please help us find her one way or another."
The Hacking and Soares families stood together at a press conference Saturday morning. They expressed support for Mark Hacking, as they have each day this week. But behind the scenes there was apparently a rift developing.
Herald Soares, Lori's father, told Fox News Network Saturday that if Mark did have something to do with his daughter's disappearance, he wanted him to come clean.
"To a certain degree, I have to draw the line; I want my daughter back," he told the news network. "I want him to retrieve the body so we can give her a proper burial."
Lori Hacking was last seen sometime Sunday night after going to a party with her husband. She reportedly went jogging in Memory Grove Monday between 5:30 and 6 a.m. Monday. Police were notified of her disappearance at 10:49 a.m.
Mark Hacking has remained hospitalized since early Tuesday, after he was found by police naked at the Chase Suite Hotel, 765 E. 400 South, allegedly creating a disturbance.
Douglas and Janet Hacking, Mark's parents, were not at Saturday morning's press conference. Their oldest son, Lance, said they were at the hospital visiting Mark and might have been delayed by parade traffic.
The time line
Some of the biggest questions being raised in the case concern the time line of alleged events.
During Mark Hacking's only public comments since his wife disappeared and before he was admitted to the hospital, he said he tried contacting her at work Monday at 10 a.m. But Hacking also went to Bradley's Sleep Etc. about 10 a.m. and purchased the new mattress at 10:23 a.m. Between 10:30 a.m. and 10:35 a.m. he left the store parking lot with the new mattress tied to the roof of his car.
Police were called at 10:49 a.m. When they arrived at Memory Grove, Mark Hacking had reportedly already twice jogged a three-mile route in the canyon looking for Lori. Neighbors did not report seeing a car with a mattress.
"We have a lot of questions about that time line," Baird said Saturday. "We know things about that time line we're not going to divulge."
Police also were remaining tight lipped about how many items they have sent away to the crime lab for analysis.
Local television station Fox 13 showed video of a box spring being removed from the Hackings' apartment Monday with an obvious red stain on the corner.
After viewing the video, Baird said it appeared to him that the red substance was on the packaging surrounding the box spring and not the bedding itself. He declined to offer a guess as to what that substance might be.
Friday afternoon a forensics team was sent to a house across the street from the Hackings' apartment at 127 S. Lincoln (945 East) where a foul smelling brown substance was found in a garbage can.
Baird also confirmed Saturday that investigators have used cadaver dogs in their search for Lori but did not have details on when or where they were used.
'Person of interest'
Detectives are only calling Mark Hacking a "person of interest" in the case and not a suspect. He became a person of interest after it was discovered that Hacking had deceived his family for two years, leading them to believe he graduated from the University of Utah and was accepted to medical school in North Carolina.
"Because of the deception we have to look at all aspects of what he has done," Baird said.
Also Saturday, police initially thought they may have had a break in the case when a hiker found the body of a badly decomposed person in the foothills above the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah. But Baird said the body was that of a male, not Hacking. It was found near a transient camp and had been there an estimated two to three weeks.
Thelma Soares said she spoke with Mark Hacking Friday. Although she said much of their conversation was private, she revealed that they embraced and she told Mark that her love for him was not conditional on him becoming a doctor.
Despite the numerous questions surrounding Mark Hacking, both the Hacking and Soares families urged the community Saturday to continue concentrating on Lori. Thelma Soares encouraged mountain biking and hiking groups to keep their eyes open while they were out recreating.
More than 20 pages of leads were developed on the first day of the search alone, she said.
"One of these leads will help us find Lori, wherever she is," Thelma Soares said.
During just the first hour of the search effort Saturday, while the parade was in progress, more than 60 people showed up to assist in the search.
"I don't care about the holiday," said Karen Balsex, who showed up early to search. "The holiday is nothing compared to a human being."
By the end of the day, about 320 volunteers had participated, with dozens more picking up fliers for distribution. The number was down from Friday's total of about 600.
Steve Goodrich of Lindon said he was in Salt Lake City to watch a relative run in the marathon and thought it would be a good time to spend a couple of hours searching.Volunteers could also be found passing out fliers and buttons with Lori's picture on it to people along the Days of '47 parade route. Lance Hacking said more than 35 cases of bottled water, each bottle with a picture of Lori Hacking pasted on it, were distributed at the parades in Salt Lake City, Bountiful and Spanish Fork.