Police with cadaver dogs combed a Salt Lake City municipal landfill early Wednesday in search of clues to the whereabouts of a missing pregnant woman.
The volunteer search for Lori Hacking, 27, was called off Tuesday, about a week after she was reported missing by her husband. Mark Hacking reported July 19 that his wife had not returned from an early morning jog.
Organizers said the search was moving from neighborhoods, industrial areas and nearby canyons into more rugged terrain, and they did not want volunteers getting hurt.
"A bulldozer is moving trash out of the way as cadaver dogs go searching through the landfill," reported CBS radio affiliate KSL-AM's Ben Winslow as he watched the search operation. "Police are keeping us some distance away, and keeping tight-lipped on exactly what they're looking for, but the cadaver dogs are trained to search for bodies or for blood evidence."
Police say nothing of consequence was found in the overnight search.
Despite published reports that the Hacking apartment may have been the scene of a "rage killing," police tell CBS News there is simply no evidence of that, and have even allowed the family back into that apartment to move things out, reports Correspondent Lee Cowan.
"Police have indicated to us that the apartment is no longer considered something they need for evidence and so the family was free to do with it what they needed to," said family spokesman Scott Dunaway.
But what took some by surprise is the family's request that no more volunteers show up to search for Lori Hacking, missing now for 10 days.
Instead, volunteers are being asked to conduct searches in their own communities and report any findings on the Web site findlori.com.
"Communities know their own areas a lot better," said Chris Smart, uncle of Elizabeth Smart, who has helped organize many of the search efforts.
Smart stressed Tuesday's announcement does not mean the search is over and encouraged the public to continue looking.
Volunteers had gathered to help search even after Mark Hacking, 28, came under scrutiny for buying a new mattress shortly before reporting his wife missing as well as lying to his wife, family and police about being accepted to a North Carolina medical school.
"We learned a lot of things in his life that are not true," Detective Dwayne Baird said Tuesday. "Medical school was the pinnacle of that deception."
The nightshift hospital orderly was checked into a psychiatric ward by his family after being found outside, naked, a night after the search for his wife began.
Assistant District Attorney Bob Stott said Mark Hacking is free to leave the hospital. Hacking, who has not been charged with a crime, did not return a phone message left Tuesday with an administrator at the University of Utah hospital.
A spokesman for Lori Hacking's family said the volunteer search could be resumed later with specialized teams or specific tips, and all-terrain vehicles and helicopters could be deployed as needed.
Police have said Hacking was at a store buying a new mattress just before reporting that Lori was missing. On the day the Lori disappeared, authorities were seen removing a box spring from the couple's apartment. Investigators have refused to confirm reports that they found a mattress in a nearby trash bin the same day.
Baird on Tuesday would not say if police recovered a mattress, although he did say investigators are not looking for one.
Also Tuesday, a defense lawyer hired by Mark Hacking's family deployed his own team of investigators. D. Gilbert Athay said he has spoken several times to Mark Hacking, but has refused to characterize the conversations.
If it seems the pieces of the puzzle are coming together, legal experts have a word of caution. Filing any criminal charges in a missing person case without that missing person is difficult. In fact, University of Utah law professor Erik Luna and his legal colleagues can't remember the last time it was done successfully in Utah.
"They couldn't recall a single case where a homicide investigation had been brought without a body or some piece of evidence demonstrating that the victim was in fact dead," he told CBS News.
So far, police won't even admit a crime has been committed — let alone whether they are close to making an arrest.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports city police have turned down offers of help from the FBI and local sheriff's offices, another sign the investigators are intent on finding a body and solving a murder, rather than looking for a missing person.
Dunaway said that the family is hoping for a miracle, but is prepared for the worst.
"They always hoped for a happy outcome. But they understand the reality of eight days," he told The Deseret News Tuesday. "These are people of great faith and tremendous courage. They're just taking this a day at a time."