Local News

Husband arrested in Nancy Cooper's death

Posted October 27, 2008
Updated October 28, 2008

— A Wake County grand jury indicted a Cary man on first-degree murder Monday in the death of his wife, more than three months after he said she went jogging and never returned home.

"With this arrest, it should now be clear to everyone that Cary citizens have been, and are, safe," Cary police Chief Pat Bazemore said at a news conference Monday evening. "This has really never been the case about a jogger being randomly attacked. It has been a case of domestic violence of the very worst kind."

Bradley Graham Cooper, 35, of 104 Wallsburg Court, was held in the Wake County jail Monday evening without bond in connection with the July 12 slaying of his wife, Nancy Cooper, 34.

He is scheduled to appear before a Wake County District Court judge at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

A man walking his dog on July 14 found Nancy Cooper's body on the bank of a storm pond off a cul-de-sac, near Holly Springs Road and Fielding Drive — less than three miles from the Coopers’ home in the Lochmere subdivision of Cary. A state medical examiner's autopsy found she had likely been strangled.

Since July, Cary police have said little about the case, saying only that they did not believe Nancy Cooper's death was a random act. But search warrants and a temporary custody dispute over the Coopers' two young daughters led to suspicion that Brad Cooper was somehow involved in his wife's death.

Brad Cooper, through his attorneys, has denied playing any role in her death. He has said in court filings he last saw her on July 12 before she went jogging. When she did not return, he has said, he went looking for her.

One of Brad Cooper's attorneys, Seth Blum, declined to comment Monday afternoon on his client's arrest but said he would have surrendered to authorities if he had been given the chance. Cary police arrested him at his home shortly after the grand jury handed down its indictment.

Brad Cooper has admitted to police that he and his wife were having marital difficulties after he had an extramarital affair. They were in the process of separating at the time of her death.

In filing for temporary custody of the Cooper children, Nancy Cooper's parents and identical sister claimed that Brad Cooper is mentally unstable and had been emotionally abusive to his wife in the months prior to her death. Last week, a Wake County District Court judge awarded temporary custody to the family, who lives in Canada.

Nancy Cooper's father, Garry Rentz, said Monday evening that he and his family are grateful that they can care for the Cooper children "during these turbulent days," and he thanked authorities for their for their "tireless and thorough" efforts in bringing forth an arrest. He also thanked his attorneys "who enabled us to seek a just outcome in our matter."

"Nancy's memory has been kept alive by a family who loved her, by a group of incredible friends who were always there for her and for our family," Rentz said. "All of you have our heartfelt thanks."

Bazemore said it took investigators more than three months to rule out possibilities in the case until they were left with facts and what they believed to be the truth.

"Our commitment to our victims, their families and our citizens at large is to be accurate, thorough and complete," she said. "This takes patient, restraint, dedication and time."

Bazemore declined to answer questions, saying that since an arrest has been made, the case has been turned over to Wake County prosecutors.

"No one can take pleasure or joy in this. It's a tragedy – just a tragedy beyond belief," Wade Smith, an attorney representing Nancy Cooper's family in the custody case, said. "And on behalf of the family, we are grateful that the police have pursued this (case) to the point where there is an arrest."

Meanwhile, friends of Nancy Cooper's who live in the Lochmere neighborhood, said they were relieved to hear the news of an arrest.

"It's been hard to really grieve for our friend without some start to a resolution," her friend, Hannah Prichard, said. "We're one step closer to a conclusion and justice for Nancy."

"She was kindest, most generous loving friend I've ever had," she continued. "She was definitely once in a lifetime."

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  • marina Oct 30, 5:56 p.m.

    Yes, jmflu, it's amazing what people can imagine.

    And yes, it's no surprise that some who thought Brad Cooper was innocent since the beginning still think he is. Like I said before (and I got flamed for that by some of these fanatics) even if some of these people were shown hundred of pieces of evidence that shows he is guilty, they would still manage to find the most bogus arguments in his defense.

  • jmflu Oct 30, 11:49 a.m.

    Oh my goodness... so many rumors floating around about me! Rev RB... I AM out of town, and nottoday2008, I have NOT been on time out from WS for over a week, or here for that matter... This is the second time you have mentioned this.

    I just heard the news today... am VERY glad to hear they have arrested Brad and am not surprised that those of you who continued to live the fantasy that he was innocent continue to believe so.

    GO FIGURE!!!

  • Alexia Oct 29, 1:07 p.m.

    It is hard to believe. It is not his personality to do such things. Unfortunately, people are all to quick to judge a person guilty. And, it's only made worse with those gosspy friends of his wife's. They sound exactly like my ex-wife and friends. Scary, really.

  • Common Sense Man Oct 28, 9:11 p.m.

    "I do not believe he did it; he does not have the mentality to do such a thing."

    Uhhhhh, how do you know his mentality? You argue more on assumptions than anyone on these boards. Have you never seen the interviews when the neighbors say, "I can't believe he would ever do such a thing!" Yeah...........

  • Alexia Oct 28, 7:12 p.m.

    verytiredmom,

    It really was rough for my son. He has been with me now for 3 years and only now can I really say that he's turning his life back around. He was truly emotionally abused at his mother's house, but I can't really prove that. But, if you could have seen his behavior at times, you would know what I mean. And my ex-wife still told the world I was the bad guy.

    But what do you mean second guess a stay-at-home mom? Nobody is accusing him or her of right or wrong, though there certainly does seem to be a lot of support on her side. And for what reason? She ran around the neighborhood talking with her friends about how he was a "money nazi", I think the words were. And, yet, she bought a $9K painting? He had reason the be a "money nazi" with that kind of waste.

    I do get the feeling she has painted an ugly picture of him to her friends, and unreasonably so. Reminds me of my ex-wife, honestly.

  • doubletrouble Oct 28, 6:07 p.m.

    I agree that the system is broken as well. Child support should be documented on what actually is spent on the children, often times it is not. In such cases, the court should intervene. It takes GOBS of evidence in court, to show a mother unfit..it's a given that the father is unworthy. It's no different in battery cases. You hit me with a frying pan..I grab you forcefully to prevent another wack..and I go to jail "pretty much" automatically and get the boot out of my own home. It's truly onsided, in alot of cases.

    As far as this case goes...hopefully, if they have enough good, hard evidence, justice can be served. I just hope they are not just grasping at straws to have an arrest...to save a town's image. Quess we'll have to see what a jury decides.

  • Chris_H Oct 28, 5:48 p.m.

    Paul - Again sorry for your situation and very sorry for your boy. Hope things pick up for you.

    I disagree with you about Brad Cooper but that's my opinion. BTW I am married, work and share responsibilities with my husband. However I never 2nd guess a stay at home Mom. I think that Nancy did make a lot of concessions. She moved away from friends and family. She had a husband who committed adultery. If you check out his website and look at his spring break trip you may not feel so sorry for him.

    My husband is the greatest and I have never doubted his loyalty but my Dad always told me never be totally dependent on a man. Glad I listened when I see how many woman in NC are killed by their husbands.

  • Scarlet Oct 28, 5:02 p.m.

    Justin T- There aren't enough men like you as Rev RB says and my point is not that all men do these things but that men in general need to be more vocal to other men in saying that women should be treated fairly and equitably and split the chores 50/50 but I don't find that happens very much. Things may be split 50/50 in the home but they don't often mention this to other men. Spread the word :)

  • Alexia Oct 28, 4:56 p.m.

    verytiredmom,

    No, of course I do not believe a man should kill his wife. I was just drawing attention to the fact that the system is entirely broken.

    Since my divorce, my wife re-married, lost her house (refusing to pay for it, not because she did not have a job), and finally married a third man (who beat her), etc. My son got tired of the alcoholic new boyfriend she had and moved back to my house.

    But, through it all, she still tells the world lies about me. She lets her friends believe that I am a horrible man and, for a few years, most believed her.

    What I have read in these posts is that people immediately accuse Brad, yet we have no proof. And people ask what might drive a person to do such a thing: I offer you some reasons.

    I do not believe he did it; he does not have the mentality to do such a thing. But, some men do and they are pushed into a corner because of the broken legal system that is baised toward women, not the kids.

  • Scarlet Oct 28, 4:55 p.m.

    I am not for appointing a person to office soley based on gender. The person must be qualified and Sarah Palin is absolutely not suited to hold office as the VP of the US which she apparently doesn't even know what the job description is. She needs to go back to being governor of Alaska and getting more experience with foreign policy by doing more than looking at Russia.

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