Local News

Brad Cooper wants custody case dismissed

Posted September 17, 2008

— Brad Cooper is asking a judge to dismiss the custody case involving his two young daughters and is challenging claims from his slain wife's family that he is an unfit father, according to new court documents WRAL obtained Wednesday.

Cooper denies claims from Nancy Cooper's parents that he was emotionally abusive to his wife, withheld money and is mentally unstable, and he says the allegations are based on "gossip, unwarranted deductions, assumptions and hearsay."

He wants Donna and Garry Rentz and Nancy Cooper's sister, Krista Lister, to hand over e-mails, text messages and other documentation to prove the allegations – they also say Brad Cooper was the last person to see his wife alive before her death and that she never went jogging on the morning of July 12.

A man walking his dog on July 14 found Nancy Cooper's body in an undeveloped subdivision less than three miles from the Coopers' home in Cary. Cary police have not named Brad Cooper a suspect in the case.

On July 16, a judge granted emergency custody to Nancy Cooper's family after they filed a petition claiming Brad Cooper is an unfit father.

The two parties reached a temporary custody arrangement that keeps the two children with the family until next month. A hearing on the matter is scheduled the week of Oct. 13.

In the latest documents, Brad Cooper also disputes allegations of multiple extramarital affairs – he says he had a "single indiscretion" – and says he never denied his wife money and that phone records prove she always had access to a cell phone and they were in constant contact.

He says the allegations are nothing but "scandalous material" that has created "bias with both the court and the press."

In the weeks following Nancy Cooper's death, Brad Cooper, through his attorneys, has denied any part in his wife's disappearance or death and had aggressively challenged rumors and speculation that he was somehow involved.

His attorneys launched a Web page on their law firm's Web site earlier this summer pleading for people to contact them for information. On Tuesday, they added grocery store surveillance video, receipts and photos to support their case.

They've also filed hundreds of pages of court documents challenging witnesses' statements and claims that they say defame their client.

"We're trying to help him get his life back," Seth Blum said. "We don't know of any other way to try and protect Brad's reputation."

Wake County District Attorney Colon Willougby says the amount of information being put forth by the attorneys is highly unusual, especially when no one has been named a suspect.

"It's certainly very interesting insight," Willoughby said. "I think you see this kind of behavior in longer term investigations where folks want to try to impact or influence public opinion before a case is resolved."

The custody case is expected back in court later this month for a hearing to determine whether Brad Cooper should undergo a mental evaluation.

The custody hearing is scheduled for the week of Oct. 13.

Meanwhile, Cary police have said they are making progress with the murder case. Willoughby said Wednesday he thinks they are doing "a proper and professional investigation."


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  • HappyinNC Sep 18, 2008

    "I think the lady who called 9/11 reporting Nancy missing and saying that Brad did something to Nancy knows more than she is letting on.

    The call was too convenient and too quick to blame Brad.

    I bet the caller and her husband either had something to do with Nancy's disappearance or they know who did."
    September 17, 2008 12:49 p.m.

    I Thought the SAME thing when I heard her tape!! Something was definitely strange about her talking and the hesitations.

  • Wheelman Sep 18, 2008

    jmflu- Yes the circumstances of the deaths is quite different. But I was talking about the presumption of guilt that hasn't been substantiated by any police charges or statements and that he should not be allowed to have custody of his children. Unless he is charged or there is evidence of him being an unfit parent, then his children belong with him. Just because he and his wife were having problems and his in-laws don't like or trust him and want the children isn't enough reason to take them from him.

  • something2say Sep 18, 2008

    I am glad to see more and more innocent until proven guilty comments here! I appreciate the people who can see how brad's activities are very similar to their own. I know it will not sway those who are already convinced of his guilt but it does allow the rest of us to continue to see how others live! None of us know what happened but all are hoping for closure soon!

    I don't like that so many cases of women being murdered are left unsolved lately! It is scary to know that people are getting away with murder and we are living with murderers in our mist. I hope that any LED's that are having trouble solving murders ask for help from other agencies to resolve these cases!

  • F650gs Sep 18, 2008

    Keeptraveling... I understand that there are alot of things that could point to Brad being guilty, but they can also all be explained for him to be innocent. For real, I leave my house at 7:15am every Saturday morning to go running with a group. My husband cleans the bathroom, vaccums the main floor of the house, and puts a load of laundry in while I'm gone. I take over the chores when I get back. Imagine I go missing....he would look so guilty to you all! My husband also has a hobby where he spends alot of time out in our garage. He will probably continue to this when we have kids. That doesn't make him a bad parent or unfit. I get up at 6am on the weekends so I would be someone at HT that early. I guess I'm not convinced Brad did it because I can see, in my own life, many of the things that people are saying make him guilty. Those things are not so strange or unusual to everybody...for some, that is normal life.

  • Lerxst Sep 18, 2008

    @kimmjoe - "I would not have let my daughters go in the first place. That speaks much to me. Either his relationship with them is not that solid or he is guilty and he did not want to deal with them as he sorted things out."

    Umm...He and the kids were *ambushed* by police at Bullwinkle's when he was supposed to be taking them to meet the grandparents for lunch. The kids were pried from him by policemen with guns. Was he supposed to grab one of their guns and create a stand-off?

    The ammended affidavits, depostion orders, responses to the ex parte affidavits, etc on this site from Sept 11 and 12 are him fighting tooth and nail to get his kids back.

  • jmflu Sep 17, 2008

    Are you talking about Jason Young?

  • 44freecandy Sep 17, 2008

    Everyone is talking about her being an abused wife and how she had told all her 'friends' about it. Victims I have know have been too ashamed to talk about their abuse let along tell a whole neighborhood about it. I feel bad for the family but both sides are fishy. I just think they were living separate lives in one house and bitter with each other and this was a shock to all (including Brad).

    The other guy who killed his wife (Wright?) looks soooo much more suspicious than Brad Cooper but he has his child. It doesn't make sense to me.

  • jmflu Sep 17, 2008

    Obviously you have a completely different story, one where you deserve the sympathy of those around you. In this case it is obvious your person experience has affected your view of this case. Everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion, but I don't believe the amount of very odd coincidences that exist in this case existed in yours.

    No one is sick, except the person who murdered Nancy.

  • Wheelman Sep 17, 2008

    Some of you people are really sick! You've declared him guilty with no real knowledge...just your opinion. You assume because they were having problems that he didn't love his wife and killed her, and apparently doesn't really love his children. Most of you have no idea what it is like to suddenly lose your wife and be left with 2 young kids. It's devestating! I can only imagine how he must feel to have people saying the things that are being said. Mine died of a sudden illness and the things some "friends" said about how I cared for her were shocking. I needed my girls and they needed me. Did you ever think that perhaps he and his kids need one another? Trust the court? What a joke! Ask the people who have had their kids taken from them purely because of someone's lie. Ask them how trustworthy and fair the courts are. It appears there was bad blood between him and the in-laws before her murder most likely due to hearing only her side of the story. Any marriage there are 2 stories.

  • jmflu Sep 17, 2008

    From today's story: ttp://www.wral.com/news/local/story/3560629/

    "Wake County District Attorney Colon Willougby says the amount of information being put forth by the attorneys is highly unusual, especially when no one has been named a suspect.

    "It's certainly very interesting insight," Willoughby said. "I think you see this kind of behavior in longer term investigations where folks want to try to impact or influence public opinion before a case is resolved.""

    Hmmm. Interesting!