Police found Lori Hacking's body in a landfill Friday after picking through the trash for weeks in a search for the young Utah woman allegedly murdered by her husband.
The state medical examiner's office used dental records to identify the remains as Hacking's, about six hours after they were found.
The discovery came on the 33rd working day of a search of 4,600 tons of garbage that began with the help of cadaver dogs and finished with authorities using garden rakes to comb through the trash. About 20 law enforcement officers were beginning a manual search Friday when one of them turned up the decomposed body.
"It means everything to us to find Lori's mortal remains so that we might lay them to rest with dignity," Hacking's divorced parents, Eraldo Soares and Thelma Soares, said in a joint statement.
Hacking, a 27-year-old assistant stock broker, has not been seen since July 18. Her 28-year-old husband, Mark Hacking, reported her missing the following day, saying she never returned from a morning jog that police determined she never took.
Mark Hacking's father, Douglas Hacking, issued a statement saying, "We hope today's discovery will begin to bring closure to both our family and the Soares families in this tragic event."
Mark Hacking has been jailed on a charge of murder. While he was hospitalized in a psychiatric unit, he allegedly confessed to his brothers that he shot his wife while she was sleeping and disposed of her body, the weapon and a mattress in separate trash bins.
The searchers found the remains in an area not previously probed by cadaver dogs.
The remains were found among trash that included newspapers dated July 16-19, the weekend Lori Hacking disappeared. Investigators also found business envelopes indicating they were from the University of Utah Research Park area where Mark Hacking worked and where prosecutors believed he dumped the body in the trash.
The search was called off Friday, even though police haven't found a .22-caliber firearm they believe was the murder weapon.
"We were confident we could go forward with the case without a body, and now we have the body," said Assistant District Attorney Robert Stott.
Hacking is being held on $1 million bail. A week ago he waived his right to a preliminary hearing, and his next court date was scheduled for Oct. 29.
His attorney, Gil Athay, did not return calls Friday from The Associated Press.
Investigators' hopes of finding the body had diminished in recent weeks. Searching the landfill had been tedious, with each day presenting searchers and dogs with 300 or more tons of trash to sort through.
Police Chief Rick Dinse said the body was found against odds that presented "the monumental potential for failure." Landfill searches almost never are successful, he said.
Searchers at the 550-acre landfill had concentrated their search on a football-sized stretch, going through compacted garbage 20 feet deep. They were about two-thirds through the search when they found the body.Comment on this story
Authorities believe Lori Hacking was killed after she learned her husband wasn't enrolled in medical school in North Carolina, even though they were packing to move there. It was the latest in a series of deceptions perpetuated by the husband over several years, police say.
Hacking, who had been a hospital orderly at the university, also has been charged with obstructing justice, accused of throwing Lori's body, the gun and a bloody mattress in separate trash bins.
Because his alleged confession came in the psychiatric ward where Hacking was treated for 13 days after his wife disappeared, Athay has suggested he might try an insanity defense.