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Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News
Thelma Soares, center, walks with nieces Jane, left, and Kathy Black at a service for Lori Hacking at an LDS stake center in Orem Saturday.

OREM — On the day she went home with her adoptive family, Lori Kay Soares wore a little pink dress, a white-lace bonnet and clutched a pink-and-white stuffed rabbit. She was 3 months old and her constant companion was a pacifier.

At age 4, as a church receipt shows, Lori tithed a penny for each year of her life and gave it faithfully.

As she grew she played on baseball teams, went to school dances and traveled the country, sometimes spontaneously, like the night she took a red-eye flight to New York City just to spend her New Year's Eve birthday in Times Square. In college, she served as a congressional intern in Washington, D.C., before graduating with honors from the University of Utah. Then she married her high school sweetheart, Mark, and became Lori Hacking.

Saturday, those moments from Lori Hacking's life were celebrated and memorialized in pictures, words and music by friends and family at the Windsor LDS Stake Center in Orem.

Lori Hacking was apparently killed sometime the morning of July 19, shot while she slept in her Salt Lake apartment. She was 27.

Her husband, Mark Hacking, 28, is accused of the crime and his been charged with first-degree felony murder for allegedly shooting his wife and then leaving her body in a Dumpster near the U. Her body has not been found.

Mark Hacking is in the Salt Lake County Jail being held on $1 million bail and was not at the service. The rest of his family, however, did attend, with his father, Douglas Hacking, offering the invocation.

"We've all been touched by her in some way, and we appreciate the time she has been here on this earth," Douglas Hacking said during the prayer, momentarily looking down from the podium at Thelma and Eraldo Soares, Lori's parents, who were sitting side by side in the first pew.

"I knew Lori after she lost the pacifier and put on the spark," said Jack Christianson, whose daughter, Rebecca, was one of Lori's closest high school friends. "She really outgrew the pacifier — she was a little spitfire. She was so funny. She'd let you know how she felt. And as some have said today, I don't think she'd want to be deified.

"She wasn't perfect, but she was working on it, just like the rest of us."

Lori would indeed have been uncomfortable with the fuss made over her life Saturday, her brother Paul Soares said. The thousands who searched for her in the days after she was reported missing and the hundreds who packed the LDS meetinghouse to pay their respects would have puzzled her as well.

"She was very private. She was one who kept everything inside of her, but she was very conscious of others' feelings," Paul Soares said. "She was someone who cared about others."

Recounting a day they spent together in Washington, D.C., Soares relished his sister's zest for life, her love of travel and adventure, her dedication to school, her kindness and compassion.

"I had such pride and joy in knowing she was my little sister," he said.

Saturday's service was incomplete only in that police have yet to recover Lori's remains. Thus a "memorial service," as her family is as yet unable to hold a funeral and burial.

Police searched a Salt Lake landfill a dozen times — including overnight Friday and Saturday — but have yet to locate Lori's body or the .22-caliber rifle they believe was used in the killing.

Searches by police using search dogs will "continue until it's finished," Salt Lake City police detective Dwayne Baird said outside the chapel on Saturday.

"We have lots of material to go through out there at the landfill, and we're just doing it as best as we can, making sure that we don't leave anything unturned."

Baird said he attended the service because he had come to know both the Soares and Hacking families well over the past month. "We don't have any schedule where we say that it's over in any given time frame. It will be a situation where we continue ... until we find her."

Police remain confident they are searching in the right location, Baird added. About 4,200 tons of garbage was dumped at the landfill on July 19 and, as of several days ago, police had sorted through only a fraction of that. He said he was not at liberty to discuss possible contingency plans.

If Mark Hacking indeed killed his wife, as prosecutors say and as Mark himself has allegedly confessed to his brothers Lance and Scott, then it might seem strange that his family has remained so closely tied to Lori's family or that Douglas Hacking would be asked to pray at his daughter-in-law's memorial.

But there is no blaming or bitterness between the Soares and the Hacking families, Christianson said after the service.

"Both families have a deep religious conviction that they share," he said making reference to the fact that both families are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "We teach forgiveness and we teach love."

Both Christianson and Windsor LDS Stake President Scott Dunaway touched on the idea of forgiveness in their memorial service remarks.

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"The world has been in awe of the love and compassion you have shown for one another," said Dunaway, who served as a spokesman for both families during the past few weeks. "What an example of living the gospel of Jesus Christ."

In the days since Lori was reported missing, the nation has watched and wept along with the families, Dunaway noted.

"I think for all of us Lori has become a daughter, a sister, a daughter-in-law, a granddaughter, a niece," he said. "We feel something of the hurt that these families feel in her loss."

Also during the service, a letter expressing condolences from the LDS Church First Presidency was read to the families. Elder W. Grant Bangerter, an emeritus member of the Quorum of the Seventy, also spoke.


E-mail: jdobner@desnews.com