Husband of missing woman lived a lie

SALT LAKE CITY – By all accounts, Mark Hacking was fun to be around – a loving husband who wanted to be respected and, like his father, become a doctor.

But in the hours that he was supposedly studying for his medical exams, Hacking often was hanging out at a neighborhood store – refilling sodas, eating hot dogs and smoking cigarettes.

He told store clerks he was a therapist, and asked them never to reveal his cigarette habit to his wife. Both are Mormons and aren’t supposed to smoke.

He got his wife to pack up so they could move to North Carolina, where he planned to attend medical school. It turns out, he wasn’t enrolled.

He kept textbooks spread open around his apartment, but in fact, he had dropped out of college.

Years of deceptions are catching up to the former nightshift hospital orderly, and he has become the focus of the investigation into the disappearance of his wife.

As the search for Lori Hacking enters its third week without a trace of the 27-year-old woman, her friends and co-workers are recalling moments when they believe she discovered her husband’s propensity for lying.

Detective Phil Eslinger said police are trying to build a “rock-solid” case, but they lack one important piece of evidence.

“We need a body,” Assistant District Attorney Bob Stott said Friday. Dogs trained to locate cadavers were used this past week to search a municipal landfill.

Hacking’s history of deceptions took relatives by surprise when his stories started unraveling in the past few weeks, said his father, Douglas Hacking, a pediatrician.

“We didn’t see it coming,” he said. “We got completely blindsided by it.”

Mark Hacking’s family has described him as a kind, loving husband who may have felt driven to lie by perceived family pressures: He has an older brother who is a doctor, and another who is an electrical engineer.

Fellow Mormons who knew Mark Hacking when he was a missionary in Winnipeg, Manitoba, told The Winnipeg Sun that he loved cracking jokes and wanted to be popular.

Mark Hacking reported his wife missing on July 19. The next day, he was taken to a psychiatric ward after he was seen running around at night naked in sandals outside a motel where he’d taken a room.

Doctors are trying to “sort out what is going on in his mind,” his father said.

Mark Hacking, 28, never was on track to become a doctor, nor is he a therapist. State records show he is a licensed health care assistant, a job he quit on July 23. The University of Utah says health care assistants start at $8.42 an hour.

Records show Lori Hacking, a stockbroker’s assistant at Wells Fargo Bank, graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah in 1999. She put her plans to pursue an MBA on hold until her husband could graduate from medical school.

But a friend of Lori Hacking recalls her confiding in 2000 that Mark Hacking “just lied to me” about having enrolled one semester at college, both Salt Lake City daily newspapers reported Friday.

A bigger lie apparently left Lori Hacking stunned and sobbing on Friday, July 16.

Her colleagues say she had been trying to make some arrangements at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where she believed her husband had been accepted into medical school, but they believe a school administrator returned a call that day to say her husband wasn’t enrolled there.

Lori Hacking, a private woman, didn’t share her grief with co-workers but took up their suggestion to leave work early.

That night, she showed up with her husband at a going-away party at her boss’s mountain cabin, betraying no sign of distress. She was last seen by friends Sunday night, July 18, and failed to show up for work the next morning at 7 a.m.

Mark Hacking has told police his wife didn’t return from a sunrise jog July 19, but his timeline is falling apart.

Police don’t believe Lori Hacking ever went jogging at a city park, as he said.

And they doubt his claim that he jogged the route before reporting her missing. They say he was across town at a store buying a new mattress at 10:23 a.m, before alerting police at 10:49 a.m. Police have recovered the old mattress from a trash bin in their neighborhood, but have not commented on its condition.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

People look out onto Mountain Loop Mine from the second floor hallway of Fairmount Elementary on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Mining company ordered to stop work next to school south of Everett

After operating months without the right paperwork, OMA Construction applied for permits last week. The county found it still violates code.

Snohomish County Jail. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
Arlington woman arrested in 2005 case of killed baby in Arizona airport

Annie Sue Anderson, 51, has been held in the Snohomish County Jail since December. She’s facing extradition.

A Cessna 150 crashed north of Paine Field on Friday evening, Feb. 16, 2024, in Mukilteo, Washington. The pilot survived without serious injury. (Courtesy of Richard Newman.)
‘I’m stuck in the trees’: 911 call recounts plane crash near Paine Field

Asad Ali was coming in for a landing in a Cessna 150 when he crashed into woods south of Mukilteo. Then he called 911 — for 48 minutes.

Everett
Snohomish County likely to feel more like winter, beginning Monday

Get ready for a mix of rain and snow this week, along with cooler temperatures.

The Nimbus Apartments are pictured on Wednesday, March 1, 2023, in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish County has the highest rent in the state. Could this bill help?

In one year, rent for the average two-bedroom apartment in Snohomish County went up 20%. A bill seeks to cap any increases at 7%.

A Snohomish County no trespassing sign hangs on a fence surrounding the Days Inn on Monday, Feb. 12, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Meth cleanup at Edmonds motel-shelter made matters worse, report says

Contamination has persisted at two motels Snohomish County bought to turn into shelters in 2022. In January, the county cut ties with two cleanup agencies.

A child gets some assistance dancing during Narrow Tarot’s set on the opening night of Fisherman’s Village on Thursday, May 18, 2023, at Lucky Dime in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Drive-By Truckers, Allen Stone headline 2024 Fisherman’s Village lineup

Big names and local legends alike are coming to downtown Everett for the music festival from May 16 to 18.

Sen. Patty Murray attends a meeting at the Everett Fire Department’s Station 1 on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Sen. Murray seeks aid for Snohomish County’s fentanyl, child care crises

The U.S. senator visited Everett to talk with local leaders on Thursday, making stops at the YMCA and a roundtable with the mayor.

Anthony Boggess
Arlington man sentenced for killing roommate who offered shelter

Anthony Boggess, 33, reported hearing the voices of “demons” the night he strangled James Thrower, 65.

Brenda Mann Harrison
Taking care of local news is best done together

The Herald’s journalism development director offers parting thoughts.

Lake Serene in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. (U.S. Forest Service)
How will climate change affect you? New tool gives an educated guess

The Climate Vulnerability Tool outlines climate hazards in Snohomish County — and it may help direct resources.

Ken Florczak, president of the five-member board at Sherwood Village Mobile Home community on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024 in Mill Creek, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
How Mill Creek mobile home residents bought the land under their feet

At Sherwood Village, residents are now homeowners. They pay a bit more each month to keep developers from buying their property.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.