Mark Hacking ‘snapped’ after wife learned deceptions, father says

SALT LAKE CITY — Mark Hacking “just snapped” and killed his wife after she learned he had been lying for years about his education and career plans, his father believes.

“If he did this, then I think it’s clear that this whole house of cards he had built, all this deception, had come to an end. He had been found out. His wife discovered his deception and confronted him with it, and I just think he just saw his whole world collapsing and broke down,” the father, Douglas Hacking, told the Associated Press on Thursday.

“He just snapped, and did something there’s no explanation for. That’s the only way I can envision it,” he said.

Hacking said he based his beliefs in part on news reports that Lori Hacking left work stunned and sobbing Friday, July 16, three days before her husband reported missing. Her colleagues at a Wells Fargo brokerage house told the AP that she had been making some arrangements at a North Carolina medical school, and that they believe an administrator was calling back to say Mark Hacking wasn’t enrolled there.

Early on, Douglas Hacking said he looked his son in the eyes and asked if he had anything to do with Lori Hacking’s July 19 disappearance.

He said Mark denied it, then revealed to his brothers Scott and Lance Hacking July 24 at a psychiatric ward that he had killed his wife in bed while she slept and threw her body in a trash bin.

The brothers confronted Hacking with evidence suggesting he had something to do with his wife’s disappearance, and Mark felt responsible for a volunteer search effort to find his wife, the father said.

The family issued a statement Thursday saying they tried quickly to relay Mark’s confession to police, but Douglas Hacking told the AP it took Scott Hacking a full day to find an intermediary to deliver the news to police.

“We too will continue to grieve for Lori until the day we die,” the family’s statement said.

Both Scott and his father are physicians, and Lance Hacking is an Intel electronics engineer in Austin, Texas. Douglas Hacking said he believed Mark probably felt pressure by the achievements of his family.

For years Mark Hacking had been lying to his wife, family and friends about his education and career plans. Not only wasn’t he enrolled at medical school, he hadn’t applied. Nor had he even graduated from the University of Utah. Yet he and his wife were packing for the move to Chapel Hill, N.C., and his deceptions were coming to a crucial test, his father said.

Douglas Hacking, a pediatrician, has said he was “completely blind-sided” by Mark’s history of deception. Now the father is trying to reconstruct his son’s life. He hasn’t spoken lately to Mark Hacking, who was jailed Monday on suspicion of murder.

On Thursday, a judge extended to Monday the deadline for District Attorney David Yocom to file charges in the case, Yocom announced.

Lori Hacking, a 27-year-old stockbroker’s assistant, is feared dead, and police are certain her body will turn up in a municipal landfill, where they planned to return Thursday night with a team of cadaver dogs.

It could take a month for police and dogs to plow through 3,000 tons of compacted garbage buried 20 feet deep over an area of two football fields, but “luck is going to play in this whole thing,” Detective Phil Eslinger said Thursday.

“If it ends tonight, it will be because of our diligence and because luck just happened to be on our side. You look at cases that involve landfills, they have a history of being long affairs,” he said.

Family members are trying to understand why Mark Hacking, a 28-year-old hospital orderly with no known criminal history, would kill his wife.

“Nobody can answer that question, but there were some things leading up to why Mark may have had a complete psychological collapse,” said Douglas Hacking.

Mark’s admission was relayed by Scott Hacking through an intermediary to police on July 25.

“I’ve never seen him (Scott) hurting so much as that night, struggling with having to make that decision,” said Douglas Hacking. “When it was all done, he said, ’I never felt as relieved or miserable at the same time.’ It’s a terrible dilemma for him to be in.”

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