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Jogger's Hubby Gets A Top Lawyer

The embattled husband of a missing 27-year-old jogger has hired a prominent criminal defense lawyer to represent him.

Mark Hacking has retained D. Gilbert Athay, a lawyer who has defended a host of high-profile criminal defendants in Utah. Athay has declined to comment on the case.

Hacking told police that his pregnant wife, Lori, failed to return home from an early morning jog on July 19.

Authorities launched an intensive search for the missing woman, but her husband's words and actions have made him the focus of the police probe, even though he has not been named as a suspect.

Here are highlights of the case:

  • Hacking said he went to a local park to look for his wife following her disappearance, but the manager of a furniture store told police Hacking couldn't have been at the park at that time, because he was at the store buying a new mattress.
  • On the last day her co-workers saw her, Lori Hacking was heading home for the weekend after getting a phone call that left her stunned and sobbing. Several colleagues said Hacking had been arranging for on-campus housing at the University of North Carolina medical school and that they believe the school was returning a call to say her husband was not enrolled there, as he had told her. Hacking, a nightshift hospital orderly, also lied about graduating from the University of Utah.
  • Hacking, 28, has been at a psychiatric hospital since police found him running around naked in sandals the night after the search for his wife began. Police refused to say whether he was being held involuntarily.

    "Right now it's a search case with a missing person with extremely suspicious circumstances," said police detective Dwayne Baird.

    In other developments, volunteers called off a weeklong hunt for the missing woman while police, using cadaver dogs, continued their search for her body in a municipal landfill.

    The volunteer search for Lori Hacking covered neighborhoods, industrial areas and nearby canyons. The search drew dwindling numbers, however, as Mark Hacking's actions came under scrutiny.

    Scott Dunaway, the family's spokesman, said the volunteer search for Lori Hacking could be resumed later with specialized teams or specific tips, and that all-terrain vehicles and helicopters could be deployed as needed.

    Dunaway said the decision was not related to the return of police to a municipal landfill Monday night.

    Police, who used cadaver dogs and illuminated the landfill with spotlights, found nothing but plan to return. Experts say dogs work better in cool, moist nights or at daybreak than during a hot summer day.

    "You have to go through it methodically, and it's a lot of area to cover, a lot of material," Detective Dwayne Baird said.

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