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Cooper search warrants: Husband's story inconsistent

Posted September 2, 2008

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— Cary police were suspicious of Brad Cooper’s story the day they talked to him – two days before his wife was found murdered – saying it was inconsistent with what they heard in interviews with family and friends.

Search warrants released Tuesday show that officers found Nancy Cooper’s cell phone and keys inside the home, despite hearing from relatives that she always carried her keys as a form of protection.

Police first talked to Brad Cooper on Saturday, July 12, the day that a friend reported his wife missing because she did not show up for a meeting with her. An investigator said in a search warrant affidavit that there were "small red marks with scratches on the back side of Brad Cooper’s neck.”

Brad Cooper did not explain the marks, police said. They said he  told them he had spent the morning “scrubbing” floors, vacuuming, washing laundry and cleaning the house, doing it because of an argument he and Nancy Cooper had had days earlier about the condition of the house.

He also told investigators he and Nancy Cooper had been arguing Friday, the day before she went missing, about her being paid for helping a friend paint her house.

In the affidavit, investigators said he told them he had also recently cleaned his car because he had spilled gasoline in the trunk a few weeks earlier.

Investigators, however, noticed no gasoline odor. And, while the trunk was clean, they observed that the front of the car had not been vacuumed and had numerous items in the passenger seat, including mail and various receipts.

Among the items seized from the home were: a green dress, a black sports bra, a red shirt, blue and gray tennis shoes, high-heel shoes, a pink object thought to be a fingernail, a pillow, bed linen, “documents and writings,” two cameras and three computers.

Investigators also took swabs of the exterior of Brad Cooper's car, hair from the interior trunk lid, grass from the right front seat, hair from the bottom front right bumper and hair from the left front tire well. Also seized was “brownish-green vegetable material.”

After searching the Coopers’ home, authorities searched Brad Cooper’s office at Cisco Systems, where they seized several computers and external hard drives.

In obtaining warrants to examine those devices, investigators wrote in the affidavit that “these items (are) believed to contain information pertaining to the homicide of Nancy Lynn Cooper or illustrate and/or provide evidence of marital discord.”

Tuesday’s release of the warrants comes after a Superior Court judge sealed them for 60 days. Wake County prosecutors argued releasing them any earlier would compromise the investigation.

Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby declined to comment on the warrants or their release.

Brad Cooper's attorneys, Howard Kurtz and Seth Blum, said in a statement late Tuesday afternoon that the release of the warrants makes public the state of the police investigation as it was six weeks ago and that they "shed no light on who killed Nancy Cooper."

"Had substantial, credible evidence pointed to Brad Cooper, he would be in (police) custody," they said in the statement.

Authorities have said they do not believe Nancy Cooper’s slaying was a random crime, but they have not named a suspect or person of interest in the case. They've said little else, including how she died, and Tuesday's warrants provide no new information other than saying it was the result of "suspicious circumstances."

The warrants are of interest because they include affidavits in which investigators justify their requests, possibly including their theories of a case or explaining why a named person is being targeted for a search.

“Everyone must remember that investigations are as much about ruling things out as ruling things in and that it’s the evidence that comes from a search warrant – not the warrant itself – that makes a difference in a case,” Cary police Chief Pat Bazemore said in a written statement.

“We work closely with the Wake County District Attorney’s Office and other agencies in gathering and evaluating evidence as we seek the truth in every crime, and it’s only when we are absolutely sure and can prove it according to the letter of the law that we make the arrest(s).”

Brad Cooper told police Nancy Cooper went jogging around 7 a.m. on July 12 and never returned.

A man walking his dog on July 14 found Nancy Cooper’s body face-down on the bank of a storm pond near a cul-de-sac near Holly Springs Road and Fielding Drive — less than three miles from the Coopers’ home.

“Our family continues to have great confidence in the Cary Police Department and applaud their efforts on behalf of one of us,” Nancy Cooper’s father, Garry Rentz said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

“We echo the comments Chief Bazemore made on Nancy’s recent birthday: A resolution of this case would indeed be a wonderful gift to all of us.”


This story is closed for comments.

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  • bigbird1141 Sep 4, 2008

    I'm waiting for evidence, I would suggest we all do the same.


  • bigbird1141 Sep 4, 2008

    Who cares about the cleaning. If there was blood no amount of cleaning would remove it. They had the car(s) for how many days and found nothing. If they did, he wouldn't be walking around. I bet they thought they were going to find something, but didn't and don't know what to do. The guy was a avid runner. I live in the same area and there are tree's everywhere.Not in Raleigh. What am I missing here? He was corporative, let the LE in without a lawyer. There is no way he could have cleaned up a murder and took care of his kids before 9 am. Why won't they release the Autopsy?

  • valleyGirl Sep 3, 2008

    garbage...he is guilty, the investigators just need a break, some evidence that a jury will agree on. The only enemy she was known to have is the guy who lived with her. Everything we know about seems circumstantial, but it all adds up. It's a very methodical process,you have to allow the pieces to assemble.

  • onlymy2cents Sep 3, 2008

    I have a question for all of the detectives investigating this case that are posting on this board. From many of the posts, it appears to be quite a few.
    Has anyone turned over your facts substantiating your findings from factual evidence to the CPD?

    Whether BC is innocent or guilty, this stuff flying around the board is really silly.

  • Common Sense Man Sep 3, 2008

    "This could be the classic frame up of BC."

    You seriously think the CPD would frame someone for murder?

  • anti-Hans Sep 3, 2008

    I am so glad all of you have the facts. I clicked the wbesleuths link, and cant read all of it. What I did read was no different than here - just a bunch of people's opinions, gossip, and hogwash. I am truly sorry NC has passed, but the extent many of you think you know it all amazes me. So mnay gaps and holes in both sides that amounts to nothing more than speculation for anyone. This could be the classic frame up of BC.

    To the poster who said he did not go to any services - how could he? People on here are the same ones putting on the services, bday celebrations etc. There is no way he could go to those under the cirucmstances.

  • Common Sense Man Sep 3, 2008

    "Ok, That still doesn't negate what I said."

    You said something about convicting someone based on what's been shown in the media. There's no need in trying to negate that, it's not even worth arguing.

    "BTW, how do you know "what they have"?"

    I know they have more than what's in this article because I have a brain.

  • Timbo Sep 3, 2008

    "That's not all they have."

    Ok, That still doesn't negate what I said.

    BTW, how do you know "what they have"?

  • justabovewater Sep 3, 2008

    Hmmm? All the affidavits mentioned how Brad was such a hands off kind of father. According to him, he was up at 4:00 am helping tend to the baby? I'm thinking NOT.

  • F650gs Sep 3, 2008

    Even though I've stated how interested I am in crime investigation and thinking about the case, I have to agree that all the media coverage has probably done damage in regards to jury selection, if it comes to that for BC....for both the presecution and defense. It's hard to unhear what you've already heard.