Salt Lake City police are confirming that Mark Hacking bought a new mattress on Monday -- right around the time he called them to report his pregnant wife missing.
The owners of a furniture store had told the Salt Lake City Tribune that Mark Hacking bought a mattress with his credit card Monday morning. The purchase went through at 10:23 a.m. Police say Mark Hacking called them at 10:49 a.m. to report his wife missing.
Hacking, 28, has not appeared publicly since Monday, the day he said his 27-year-old wife, Lori, vanished. Family members say he has since been hospitalized for stress.
Authorities have identified Mark Hacking as a person of interest in the case.
The Deseret News and a television station reported Thursday that police found Hacking at a hotel about a half-mile from the couple's apartment early Tuesday. The station said he was running around naked outside the motel and was hospitalized. He remained in the University of Utah psychiatric unit Friday.
Police said only that they were called to a disturbance involving Hacking and that the matter was turned over to medical personnel. Detective Dwayne Baird said police considered Hacking a person of interest in the case but not a suspect, and that he had been interviewed as recently as Wednesday.
"We do not call anyone a suspect at this time and we haven't ruled anyone out at this time," Baird said.
Meanwhile, Mark's father told reporters he confronted his son directly about whether he was involved in Lori's disappearance.
"I confronted my son yesterday morning, I looked him in the eye, and I said `I need you to tell me if you had anything to do with Lori's disappearance,"' Douglas Hacking said Friday. "I have to tell you that he looked me in the eye, and he said, 'No.'
"And I know a lot of you will say, `Well, who can believe that?' But I want you at least to know that much of it."
Lori Hacking was five weeks pregnant when she disappeared just days before the couple was to move to North Carolina, where Mark Hacking said he was going to attend medical school. But he had lied to his wife and family — he never graduated from college, nor was he accepted to any medical school, authorities said Thursday.
"He and Lori picked out an apartment, packed all their belongings
and arranged for a moving truck to come," said Hacking's father Douglas at a news conference Thursday.
Friends told the Salt Lake City Tribune that Mark Hacking had called them about 10 a.m. about his wife's disappearance and said he had twice run his wife's usual jogging route, three miles each way.
Police removed a number of items from the couple's apartment Monday. They would not say what they have taken from the apartment, but television news footage showed paper bags, boxes and a box spring being removed. Police impounded a large trash bin from behind the apartment complex.
Mark Hacking's family and in-laws said they were stunned to learn Wednesday that he had not graduated from college or been accepted at a medical school, as he had claimed.
Thelma Soares, Lori Hacking's mother, said that she was certain her daughter had not known about the discrepancies. "Up to the time when I spoke with her last, she was deceived also," she told CBS station KUTV-TV.
Douglas Hacking said even though his son is incapacitated by grief, they spoke of the deception Wednesday night at the hospital.
"He has two older brothers who are high achievers, a physician and the other is an electrical engineer," he said. "He felt under some pressure to excel as well.
All this is having an effect on community support for the search to find Lori Hacking.
"There was quite a falloff of volunteers" after the revelations about Mark Hacking's college record, Ed Smart told CBS News Early Show co-anchor René Syler. Smart, whose missing daughter Elizabeth was found after intense media coverage and volunteer effort, is helping the Hacking and Soares families.
"It's just really critical in finding her that we have volunteers come out and support the family. Lori hasn't been found, and until she's found, the family just really needs the community's support," he said.
Lori Hacking used to receive love notes at work from her husband, said jogging partner and co-worker Elizabeth Read on The Early Show, and never hinted at any trouble in their marriage.
"Lori only had nice things to say about Mark," she said.
Despite all the suspicions, Mark's friends continue to support him.
"Mark Hacking has been the best friend I could have ever asked for," Ross Williams told KUTV.