SALT LAKE CITY -- The husband of a missing pregnant woman has been hospitalized, and police said he misled his wife and family about graduating from college and getting into medical school, authorities said yesterday.
Mark Hacking, 28, has not appeared publicly since Monday, when he said his 27-year-old wife, Lori, had not returned from a morning jog. The disappearance came days before the couple were to move to North Carolina, supposedly so that he could attend medical school.
Hacking entered the hospital Monday night or early Tuesday because of stress, according to his brother, Lance. He would not say what kind of hospital it was. Detective Dwayne Baird confirmed that Hacking was hospitalized but would not give details. He said investigators interviewed Hacking as recently as Wednesday.
Hacking's family and in-laws said they were stunned to learn Wednesday that he had not graduated from college or had been accepted at a medical school, as he had asserted.
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 KUTV-TV.
Soares, addressing herself to her son-in-law, said: ''We feel badly that you felt that it was necessary to perpetuate this deception. We love you, no matter what."
Police Chief Rick Dinse said ''there is no question [Mark Hacking] is a person of interest" in the disappearance of his wife but said he would have been regardless of the assertions about his education.
Douglas Hacking said he spoke to his son at the hospital about the admissions of deception.
''He has two older brothers who are high achievers, a physician and the other is an electrical engineer," the elder Hacking said. ''He felt under some pressure to excel as well. It has finally come to an end, and he's relieved."
The University of North Carolina said Wednesday that Hacking had never applied to the medical school. Also, the University of Utah said he was enrolled from 1999 to 2002, majoring in psychology, but never graduated.
More than 1,200 volunteers scoured the steep terrain surrounding a park and canyon in a search for Lori Hacking on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, volunteers took fliers door to door in downtown Salt Lake City neighborhoods.
Friends said the couple learned July 15 that Lori was five weeks' pregnant, though The Salt Lake Tribune on Wednesday quoted police as saying that had not been confirmed. Lance Hacking said yesterday that Lori showed the positive at-home pregnancy to her sister-in-law.