In a case that is being likened to the early days of the Laci Peterson disappearance, searchers in Utah are knocking on doors and scouring canyons around Salt Lake City to find any sign of pregnant housewife Lori Hacking, who has not been seen since Monday.
Hacking, 27, who only recently learned that she was five weeks into her pregnancy, was last seen before she went for a jog. Her husband of five years, Mark Hacking, reportedly phoned police Monday after Lori failed to show up at work, the Associated Press reports.
He said he later found her Chrysler Sebring parked near the entrance to the park at which she ran.
On Wednesday, however, Lori’s husband’s relatives were stunned to learn the extent to which Mark had lied about his past and future. In particular he appears to have fabricated his educational record, after he had reportedly told the family that he was accepted to medical school at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Lori Hacking was said to have been making plans for the move to Chapel Hill next week. But Mark Hacking never applied there, reports now say.
In addition, the University of Utah says it has no record of Hacking having graduated from that school, despite his claims to the contrary.
“I have no explanation for this new development,” his father, Douglas Hacking, tells the Salt Lake City Tribune. “I just can’t understand that. It still doesn’t answer the question of what happened to Lori.”
The Tribune says Mark Hacking has been absent from the search all week and, as of Wednesday, was unavailable for comment, though police are aware of his whereabouts. Douglas Hacking said Tuesday that his son was “in a safe place, being given supportive care by family.”
Salt Lake City Police were careful to point out to news sources that no links should be drawn between Hacking’s purported misrepresentation of his academic status and any suspicions of foul play.
On Thursday morning’s Today show, Lori’s mother, Thelma Soares, said from Salt Lake City that she would like to know what, if anything, Mark knows about her daughter’s disappearance. In the meantime, she said, she thanked Mark for allowing “the beautiful, sweet face of my daughter” to be shown across the country on TV, and asked anyone who might have an idea as to where Lori might be to please alert authorities.