Mark Hacking (Fall 1999 – her death in 2004)
Thelma Soares, Herald Soares
Laci Peterson, LaToyia Figueroa, Scott Peterson, Susan Powell
Lori Kay Soares Hacking (December 31, 1976 – July 19, 2004) was a Salt Lake City, Utah, woman who was killed by her husband, Mark Hacking, in 2004. She was reported missing by her husband, and the search earned national attention before her husband confessed to the crime.
Lori was the adopted daughter of Thelma and Herald Soares, formerly of Fullerton, California. Herald Soares was a Spanish and Portuguese teacher for Sunny Hills High School and was also a native of Piracicaba, Brazil. He met Thelma when they both served as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in Rio de Janeiro. Lori's parents divorced in 1987 and Thelma and Lori relocated to Orem, Utah the following year. Lori and Mark both attended Orem High School, about 40 miles (about 64 kilometers) south of Salt Lake City.
At 10:49 a.m. on July 19, 2004, Mark Hacking called 9-1-1 to report his wife Lori missing. She was 27 years old at the time. Mark told police she had left home early for a customary jog in the Memory Grove and City Creek Canyon area northeast of downtown Salt Lake, but had not returned home or arrived at work. A woman who said she had seen Lori near the grove that day later withdrew her claim.
According to some family members, Hacking had told them she was about five weeks pregnant when she vanished. She was planning a move to North Carolina, where her husband had said he was about to start medical school at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. However, police say Mark had never completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Utah as he led family and friends to believe, and that the medical school had no record of him having ever applied.
Shortly after his wife's disappearance, Mark was reportedly found running naked through the streets, and was admitted to hospital for mental evaluation. While in the hospital, Mark engaged a locally prominent defense attorney, D. Gilbert Athay.
Mark Hacking arrested
On August 2, 2004, Mark was arrested on suspicion of the aggravated murder of his wife. Police believed that he acted alone, killing Lori in their apartment with a .22-caliber rifle while she was asleep and disposing of her body in a dumpster. They found blood in several places in the couple's apartment, including on a knife located in the bedroom and on the headboard of the bed, as well as in Lori's car. In addition, Scott and Lance Hacking, Mark's brothers, claim that he confessed to them on July 24, 2004 of having murdered Lori. First-degree murder charges were filed against Mark Hacking on August 9, 2004.
On October 1, 2004 at approximately 8:20 a.m. (Mountain Daylight Time) searchers found human remains in the Salt Lake County landfill. By that afternoon, police had confirmed that the remains were those of Lori Hacking.
According to an interview with the CSI division in Salt Lake City, the sum total of Lori's remains were, two teeth, and a piece of bone the size of a quarter, which is believed to have come from her shoulder blade. Searchers actually found the carpet that Mark admitted to rolling her body into, before placing it in the dumpster.
On October 29, 2004, Mark pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, despite pleas from the victim's brother, Paul Soares, to "save your family the grief and cost [and] plead guilty to murder."
On April 15, 2005, Hacking pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in exchange for prosecutors dropping other charges. On June 6, 2005, Hacking was sentenced 6 years to life in prison, the maximum the judge could give under Utah law. Under Utah's system of indeterminate criminal sentences, first-degree felony murder brings a mandatory five years to life, but because Hacking had used a firearm, the minimum was increased by a year.
In July 2005, the Utah Board of Pardons declared that Mark Hacking's first parole hearing would come in August 2034. Upon hearing this news, Lori's mother Thelma Soares issued this statement: "While it is a terrible waste of his life, [the decision] lifts a great burden from my mind and heart. The six-year minimum imposed by law is an insult not only to Lori and the baby, but to me and my family as well. I thank the members of the State Board of Pardons and Parole for their diligence and sense of justice in dealing with this tragic case. My faith in our justice system has been upheld."
The Soares family removed the name "Hacking" from Lori's headstone. "We just felt that Mark obviously didn't want her anymore", said her mother. Lori's married name was replaced with the Portuguese word "Filhinha", which translates to "little daughter."
On March 20, 2006, Utah House Bill 102, also known as "Lori's Law", was signed into law. It increases the minimum penalty for a person convicted of first degree murder in Utah to fifteen years to life.
In June 2006, prison officials in Utah discovered that Hacking was selling personal items, including autographs, a hand tracing, various prison forms, and magazines, on an online site called "Murder Auction". Officials later announced that Hacking had agreed to discontinue selling anything online.
On June 6, 2005, Mark Hacking's father read a statement from his family that he said would be their final statement to the press about the murder. The statement clarified several events leading up to Mark's confession and conviction. The statement ended by quoting Mark:
"I know prison is where I need to be. I will spend my time there doing all I can to right the many wrongs I have done, though I realize complete atonement is impossible in this life. I have a lot of healing and changing to do, but I hope that some day I can become the man Lori always thought I was. To the many people I have hurt, I am more sorry than you could ever know. Every day my soul burns in torment when I think of what you must be going through. I wish I could take away your pain. I wish I could take back all the lies I have told and replace them with the truth. I wish I could put Lori back into your arms. My pain is deserved; yours is not. From the bottom of my heart, I beg for your forgiveness. There is no such thing as a harmless lie no matter how small it is. You may think a lie only hurts the liar, but this is far from the truth. If you are traveling a path of lies, please stop now and face the consequences. Whatever those consequences, they will be better than the pain you are causing yourself and others."