Saturday, October 2, 2004 Posted: 11:40 AM EDT
(CNN) -- Dental records confirmed that human remains found in a Salt Lake County landfill Friday are those of Lori Hacking, a Salt Lake Police spokesman told CNN.
The "heavily decomposed" remains were found Friday morning by people searching for the body of the 27-year-old Utah woman missing since July 19, Salt Lake City Police Chief Rick Dinse said.
Officers from several police agencies and cadaver dogs have searched the landfill about four days a week since August.
"It means everything to us to find Lori's mortal remains so that we might lay them to rest with dignity," Hacking's parents, Eraldo and Thelma Soares, said in a statement reported by The Associated Press.
It took just a few hours Friday before investigators were certain the remains were those of Hacking, whose husband has admitted to fatally shooting her, said Salt Lake Police spokesman Phil Eslinger.
Mark Hacking, Lori's husband, said he shot his wife in the head with a .22-caliber rifle as she slept and wrapped her body in garbage bags before disposing of it in a garbage bin, Salt Lake District Attorney David Yocom said in August.
Hacking was charged in August with his wife's murder, along with three counts of obstruction of justice. An arraignment is scheduled for October 29.
Deputy District Attorney Robert Stott said finding Lori Hacking will strengthen the prosecution's case.
Yocom said Hacking confessed to his two brothers while he was being treated at a mental ward of a hospital in the days after the killing. Hacking also said he disposed of the body, the murder weapon and the mattress in separate garbage bins.
The district attorney said Hacking decided to kill his wife after she discovered he was not enrolled in medical school in North Carolina, where the couple had planned to move.
"The defendant stated that in the early morning hours of July 19th, he walked into the bedroom where his wife slept and shot her in the head with a .22-caliber rifle," Yocom said.
"He further stated that he wrapped Lori's body in garbage bags, placed the body in the Dumpster at approximately 2 a.m. And then, he further stated that he disposed of the gun in another Dumpster."
According to Yocom, Hacking also said he used a knife to slice up the mattress and discarded it in another garbage bin. The mattress and knife have been recovered.
If convicted, Hacking could be sentenced a minimum of five years to life in prison on the murder charge and one to 15 years in prison for each of the three obstruction charges.