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Woman's body found in Wake County could be missing jogger

Posted July 14, 2008
Updated July 15, 2008

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— A woman's body was found Monday evening in Wake County, and police said they were looking into the possibility that it was the body of a missing Cary woman, Nancy Cooper.

The woman was lying in dirt alongside a cul-de-sac that has been cut in preparation for a new subdivision, Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said.

“It is just a typical subdivision, with a lot of streets cut and cul-de-sacs cut, under construction. I don’t even think there is a house down this particular cul-de-sac,” Harrison added.

Cary police initially had said that a man who found the body while walking his dog had spotted it in a pond. The body was near Holly Springs Road and Fielding Drive, outside Cary city limits in the area of Lochmere.

That is not far from where the mother of two reportedly went missing.

“We’re not making any assumptions that this is Nancy, but we are working with the Wake County Sheriff’s Office to identify the body,” said Cary Police Chief Pat Bazemore. “It is a sad and difficult time for all of us. Our hearts are with Mrs. Cooper’s family and close friends during this very trying time.”

Jessica Adams, a friend of Nancy Cooper, reported her missing at 2:15 p.m. Saturday when she failed to show up for a visit, police said at a news conference Monday evening.

Brad Cooper told police his 34-year-old wife went out for a jog around 7 a.m. Saturday but did not return by 9 a.m. as planned.

When asked why Brad Cooper had not called police about his wife, Bazemore said, "We don't know why the husband didn't report her missing."

Police sent the woman's body found Monday evening to the state medical examiner in Chapel Hill for identification.

"We have an unidentified female body and we are working very closely with Cary and tomorrow (Tuesday) morning they will find out from the autopsy, the cause of death and who this person is," Harrison said.

Police described Cooper as being 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighing about 120 pounds, with hazel eyes and brown hair that goes just past her shoulders. She was last seen wearing a T-shirt, running shorts and light blue running shoes.

Bazemore said that Brad Cooper was being cooperative and had agreed to let the police search the couple's house and cars. She confirmed that he had told police that they were experiencing marital problems.

"I never understood there to be anything in terms of a physical threat, but a tense marriage. No, I didn't have any specific reason other than just concern for my friend,” Adams said of reporting her friend missing.

Brad Cooper made his first public statement at an evening news conference, but did not answer any questions. He thanked all the volunteers and said he hopes anyone with information would come forward.

"I want to thank all the hundreds of volunteers who came out and are continuing to come and if anyone knows anything, I would like them to contact the police with any information they may have,” Brad Cooper said.

About 200 people have joined search parties that covered the areas of Lochmere Lake and Regency Park, which were believed to be routes Cooper regularly jogs. They also posted more than 2,000 fliers.

"The police have asked us to look a little bit further off the trail," search organizer Mike Morwick said Monday. "Yesterday, we covered every trail in the Lochmere Regency area. We're just going further, we're looking further into the brush to see if there's anything that might raise suspicion."


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  • jmflu Jul 15, 2008

    Did you all hear the caller during the news conference? She called from Canada to say that there were several websites reporting that Brad was seen buying bleach at a store at 4 am Saturday morning. The chief looked very upset to me, probably thinking this is not something they wanted the public to learn about.

    I think Brad was not at the news conference because the FAMILY did not want him there. I think they know more than we do, and having him sit there as though he were grieving with them would be too much.

  • Math Teacher Jul 15, 2008

    Who says she actually left to go jogging that morning? Only the husband has said she left around 7:00AM to go for the jog.

  • BadDayforButch Jul 15, 2008

    No need to jump to conclusions here. He is fully cooperating with the police. Hold off on the accusations, remember everyone thought Jon-Benet Ramsay's parents had something to do with her death and that has been proven to be completely false, so much so that the DA has publicly apologized to the father.

    Nobody knows what the source of the marital problems were, could have been anything. Maybe he knew she went and met her boyfriend every Sunday morning and was usually back in 2 hours but there were days she was gone longer..who knows, Just more wild speculation at this point. Let the system work to find out the truth.

  • momof3inNC Jul 15, 2008

    I find it strange that her husband didn't report her missing...but then again, maybe he just thought she went to one of her friends house or something? Maybe this woman had a medical condition...She could have just collapsed and died. Not sure how far off the road they found her body, but it could be a possibility. I know if my spouse or someone I cared about didn't return from a run, I would have been out driving around every possible place I could think of looking for them, kids in tow! Atleast calling around to try to find out why he/she wasn't there yet. Hope this doesn't turn into her husband facing murder charges and the children losing both parents. The Cary Police Chief did say they were treating it like a homicide, until they had reason not to....guess we will just have to wait and see.

  • RonnieR Jul 15, 2008

    I guess I shoulda added in kidnap cases where the FBI does not have original terretorial jurisdiciton.

  • RonnieR Jul 15, 2008

    beachboater, the 24 hour thing is the time under, I believe
    the Lindburgh Act, that the FBI must wait before there is a
    rebutable presumption that a kidnap victim has been taken interstate and they can enter a kidnap case. If I had gotten a dime everytime somebody told me they did not report somebody missing because they weren't gone 24 hours, I could retired a lot sonner than I did. :-)

  • greentara Jul 15, 2008

    Gee whizz folks! Most marriages have problems, it's called living together! Why does it have to be so sinister? Why would you report someone missing to the police after 5 hours? unless your OCD or something! Maybe he thought she stopped by to talk to a neighbor. He IS cooperating with the police. They don't even know if it is her body or not.

  • Historian snuck back in Jul 15, 2008

    I truly was hoping for a positive outcome to this tragedy, but I feared it would not. I hope for the families sake that there was no foul play invloved, it is possible that she just had a heat stroke or sudden heart failure that caused her demise. Remember, they said that she was expected to be gone running for two hours, that is a long time in this heat.

    My heart goes out to this family, I cannot imagine the pain they're feeling at this moment.

    My sincerest condolences to her family and friends!

  • dnc0716 Jul 15, 2008

    I hope they find the person who did this. Cary is becoming as bad as Durham and Rocky Mount.

  • ninamc65 Jul 15, 2008

    Also, good point, "justyoureverydayaveragewhiteguy"!! Nobody even knows if this woman died a violent death or not yet. You're smart, dude!