Law enforcement officials have to keep looking until they find Lori Hacking's body?

Lori Hacking’s remains are reportedly somewhere in the Salt Lake County landfill. Are law enforcement officials legally required to keep excavating until they actually find her remains, or are they just doing it because it’s a good idea, or because it’s the humane/sentimental thing to do, or because they really need some remains for a good case against Mark?

Or can they just–legally–throw in the towel any time and say, “Well, we tried, but we couldn’t find anything”?

Eventually, they’ll have to if they don’t find the remains. Law enforcement can only justify the manpower and expense used in searching for a body for so long. Of course, volunteer groups could continue to search long after law enforcement has stepped aside. (They would just have to call in the crime-scene unit if they found her.)

Whether they find her or not matters little when it comes to the prosecution of the murder case.

Really? IANAL, but it seems (unlikely as it may be) that he can plead not guilty, using a “no body=not dead, still ‘missing’=no murder” defense, and the prosecution case would not be nearly as strong as it would be with a body.

'Course, if he pleads guilty and confesses, I suppose it’s a moot point, and the search for the body would simply be to provide closure for the family.

Here is what I was looking for:

If they find her body and can determine that she was pregnant, then they could add another charge, right?

He’s confessed to the murder, so the body issue is moot.

In general, causing fetal death is not murder (by law) although moralistically, it makes the crime more heinous.

Can’t grab the cite, but I know there is a legal precidence set for a murder charge without a body.

A lawyer may be able to clarify this, but I remember hearing about a case where there was no body, but they were able to get murder charges because you are allowed to have “part of a body”.

They argued that they had blood at the crime scene, and blood is a “connective tissue”, hence “part of the body”.

In adittion, the volume of blood found (with luminol, IIRC) indicated that the person that blood came from could not have survived with that much blood loss.

If they have a bloody matress, they can probably use that. Of course, as Cillasi pointed out, the point is moot.

The point is not moot. He confessed to his brothers. You know he did it, I know he did it, everyone knows he did it, but that confession won’t mean anything at trial.

But to the OP: no, they don’t need a body, though it would certainly help. Though rare, it’s not impossible to convict someone of murder without the body being found.

The site contains "a sampling of no-body murder convictions in the Puget Sound area since 1985.

If that’s solely the Puget Sound area, nationwide there probably were a lot of them over the years.

I recall hearing of a couple of cases in rural Michigan counties where the police and prosecutors claimed that they could not prosecute without a body. In those cases, there was no confession, and no physical evidence that a murder had occurred. The lack of body=can’t prosecute theory probably stems from this highly-correlated factual scenario (that is, if there is no body and no crime scene, there is often no evidence on which to prosecute; a mysterious disappearance and a motive to kill are probably not enough to go to trial upon).

This line of reasoning is embodied in the *corpus delicti * rule, which requires evidence that a crime has been committed before a prosecution may occur. This rule can confuse people because *corpus * means body. But it is a body of evidence that is necessary–not a dead body.

I have read in some places that the rule previously required a body to be produced before a prosecution could ensue. But I am not a legal historian, and am unable to evaluate this claim.

I thought feticide was treated as murder by many US states, (abortion being excepted) this is the first page I found when I googled.