Local News

Parents of slain Cary mom have unanswered questions

Posted March 7, 2011
Updated May 4, 2011

— The parents of a Cary woman whose husband goes on trial this week in her death have unanswered questions for their former son-in-law.

Donna and Garry Rentz appeared on NBC's "Today" show Monday and said they wondered why Brad Cooper never called them after his wife, Nancy Cooper, disappeared July 12, 2008. Her body was found two days later in a drainage ditch a few miles from the couple's home.

“I would like to know, if he did this, why he did this,” Donna Rentz told “Today” anchor Ann Curry. “Divorces happen all the time.”

Donna Rentz said the Coopers were separating and that her daughter wanted to return home to Canada but that Brad Cooper had confiscated her passport and those of their two young daughters shortly before her death.

They last saw Nancy Cooper at a family vacation the week before her death.

“We did have an opportunity to bring Nancy home the last time we saw her,” Donna Rentz said. “I had her in my arms, and she was sobbing. And she said, ‘Mom, I just want to come home.’ But we couldn’t do it. The last thing we saw of her was walking out of the airport with her two little girls.”

Opening statements in Brad Cooper’s first-degree murder trial are expected to take place as early as Wednesday.

Defense attorneys and prosecutors are expected to finish up jury selection on Tuesday and are also expected to go through more pre-trial motions.

The high-profile case, which has drawn international attention, is expected to be a lengthy one, with attorneys estimating it could last as long as month. A list released Monday shows 227 potential defense witnesses and 116 potential witnesses for the prosecution.

Trial gets closer for Brad Cooper Trial gets closer for Brad Cooper

Brad Cooper, who was arrested Oct. 27, 2008, told police that Nancy Cooper went jogging around 7 a.m. on July 12, 2008, and never returned home. Around noon that day, a friend called police, concerned that something might have happened to her.

In an Oct. 2, 2008, videotaped deposition, Brad Cooper said he never called anyone in his wife’s family because he was focused on talking with the police that day.

“I was kind of a mess and a wreck at the time,” he said. “I talked with … one of the neighborhood friends. I had indicated if they could call my family and Nancy’s family.”

As investigators sought clues in the homicide case, a 10-month custody battle over the Coopers’ daughters played out in the public eye.

The Rentzes and Nancy Cooper’s sister, Krista Lister, claimed Brad Cooper was an unfit parent who was mentally unstable and was emotionally abusive and controlling of his wife in the months prior to her death. They were awarded permanent custody in May 2009.

The girls know their mother was killed but have no idea who did it, Donna Rentz told NBC.

“This is a court decision. It’s a jury who will decide whether he is guilty or innocent, and we want to emphasize that we believe in the process,” Garry Rentz told “Today.” “At the end of the day, that court will make a decision for Bradley and for us.”

“My belief, of course, is that there were never more than four people in the house the night Nance died and that she never did go running,” he added. “But that’s my personal feeling.”


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  • BIG Fat Wet Pharts Mar 9, 2011

    YOU DONT have to have a passport to go to canada,

    people always tell their families their sob stories and they are the victims when in reality they are more likely the problem

  • h3ardita11b4 Mar 9, 2011

    I hate when people make excuses for grown people. I'm so NOT attacking Nancy BUT just maybe she didn't want to work. There are tons of immigrants working and they don't have the Visa's to do it. There's tons of things she could have done if she wanted to LIKE cleaning houses, taking in kids, etc, etc. Do you seriously buy the whole she couldn't go back to Canada because she didn't have a passport. She was a SAHM, he worked - why didn't she just replace it? I'm almost certain he would have been working when the new one arrived. She figured a way to have affairs behind his back but she couldn't figure out how to replace a passport?

  • BIG Fat Wet Pharts Mar 9, 2011

    and from what I have read before the dead womans sister is her twin and has the girls calling her mom, want to talk about unstable mentally there

  • BIG Fat Wet Pharts Mar 9, 2011

    She wanted the house, EVERYTHING and she's the one who wanted the divorce. PEOPLE who initiate divorce should GET NOTHING

    she still wanted to spend his money though didnt she , even though she wanted a divorce

  • Hans Mar 8, 2011

    "What motive could a prior lover from years back have to kill nancy? None." -mh85

    How on earth can you possibly know THAT?

  • thescarletpimpernel Mar 8, 2011

    +++Why was he indicted and then "evidence" collected several times *after* he was indicted?
    IIRC, Nancy's attorney Alice Stubbs had reason to believe Brad Cooper was responsible, she communicated with LE from day one. Brad intercepted Stubbs e-mail communication with Nancy. I also recall Brad read those emails after the neighborhood party they attended, or it was speculated he did. When Brad gave depositions at the child custody hearing, CPD reviewed them stating inconsistencies in his original statements when she was missing, they arrested him a few weeks after those depositions.
    +++Why will prosecution not share certain information with the defense? Something to hide?
    My thoughts are the prosecution doesn't care, the erased Blackberry data file doesn't matter, there must be some other incriminating evidence that has nothing to do with phone calls, VOIP etc. Surely prosecution has more than hearsay.

  • pebbles262004 Mar 8, 2011

    mh85...you are so right...lol and stupid to boot

  • In Decisive Mar 8, 2011

    I haven't thrown the book at anyone. I keep saying wait for the trial because that's where the evidence will be shown. People who consider themselves fair minded should not decide that anyone is innocent or guilty until they see all the evidence at trial.

  • Alexia.1 Mar 8, 2011

    "The defense is very happy that you believe the stories they put in their motion." -- mh85

    Ah, perhaps you did read it. The defense does not want the public to believe anything. It does not matter what you and I think. It matters what the jury thinks. I read part of that and it was scary. To think that a person is blocked from having evidence to defend themselves is wrong. If he did it, the evidence will show that. If he didn't, he should be able to fully defend himself, too.

  • FTimePlayer Mar 8, 2011

    Paulej - It looks like we've got a 'god' posting on this string!!!