Nancy Cooper

Witnesses recall hours after Nancy Cooper's disappearance

Posted March 15, 2011
Updated March 16, 2011

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— The friend who reported Nancy Cooper missing in the summer of 2008 testified Tuesday in the trial of Brad Cooper, saying she was anxious and worried when her friend never showed up at her home to paint the morning she disappeared.

"I was very concerned. It didn't feel right. It was a combination of things that brought me to that point," Jessica Adam said. "I had seen Brad in my house, and he was agitated that week, related to the painting, and there was obvious tension there between them."

Had Nancy Cooper's plans changed that morning, Adam said, she would have called her.

Audio excerpt: Adam's call to Cary police

"I had a very bad feeling that something was wrong," she said.

Brad Cooper, 37, is charged with first-degree murder in the July 12, 2008, strangling death of his wife, whose body was found two days later in a drainage ditch in an undeveloped subdivision three miles from the couple’s Cary home.

Carey Clark Full video: Brad Cooper murder trial (Day 4)

He has said that Nancy Cooper, 34, went jogging on July 12 and never returned and that he never called police because it was not uncommon for his wife to leave for a run and stay gone for several hours.

By the time he became worried, he has said, Adam had already reported his wife missing.

On Monday, Adam said that she hired Nancy Cooper to paint the front room of her home– a job prosecutors have said had become a new source of conflict in the couple's troubled marriage.

Brad Cooper was angry, Adam said, because she paid her friend $240 for her work, and during the project, she said, she could feel tension between the couple when they both were at her home on Tuesday, July 8, 2008.

On the afternoon of Friday, July 11, 2008, Adam and Nancy Cooper had made plans for her to paint Adam's dining room at 8 a.m. the next day in exchange for Adam helping her organize her house.

But Nancy Cooper never arrived. And by 9 a.m. that day, Adam said, she became worried and called the Cooper home. Brad Cooper answered.

Jessica Adam Trial excerpt: Adam hears Brad's 'angry voice'

"He said she was not (there) and that she was out for a run with Carey Clark," she said.

Hours later, with still no word on Nancy Cooper's whereabouts, she called Cary police. Officer Daniel Hayes responded to the Cooper home. Brad Cooper was gone – his attorneys have said he was out looking for his wife.

"He looked – initially, my thought – tired," Hayes testified Tuesday, about meeting Brad Cooper for the first time.

But he never appeared upset, Hayes said, as he took basic information from him in the couple's dining room.

As he spoke about his wife, "it was thoughtful," Hayes testified. "Every time I asked a question, I remember him taking a second to answer the question. I didn't get a sense that he was upset."

By 4:30 p.m., several witnesses have testified, neighbors and friends had gathered in front of the Cooper home, including Carey Clark, who testified she had no plans to jog with Nancy Cooper that morning.

Cary police officer Dan Hayes Trial excerpt: Officer says Brad didn't seem upset

We were tentatively making plans for Sunday to run," Clark testified. "She had already had plans for Saturday morning."

Clark told jurors that she and Nancy Cooper had been running together for about a year and that she remembered her to run in a pair of white, blue and gray running shoes that she later identified to be Saucony.

She also recalled her carrying her keys, which were found at the Cooper home, Hayes said.

Also on Tuesday, Adam testified that:

  • Nancy Cooper always wore a diamond pendant necklace. "She never took off her diamonds," Adam said, referring to the necklace and a pair of diamond-studded earrings. She last saw her friend wearing them on July 11, 2008, as Nancy Cooper was getting ready for a neighborhood barbecue that night.
  • A purse and a cell phone were sitting in Nancy Cooper's locked BMW SUV on the afternoon of July 12, 2008.
  • Brad Cooper avoided eye contact with friends and neighbors who had gathered outside the Cooper home on July 12, 2008.  "I remember thinking it was just odd that he kept this distance from everyone and that he kept his baseball cap down," Adam said. "I remember thinking that if he were my husband and I were missing – it didn't feel right."
  • Nancy Cooper had talked to Adam on July 8, 2008, about organizing the Coopers' garage but that Brad Cooper had said he had already cleaned it. Adam said Nancy Cooper, however, complained because she was still unable to fit her SUV inside.
  • Nancy Cooper never told Adam about an alleged sexual encounter she had with a friend in 2005 but did tell her about a male friend from Canada who had recently got in touch with her.

Brad Cooper’s defense attorneys have doubted Adam’s claim that she and Nancy Cooper had plans to paint on July 12,2008, saying it wasn’t likely since Nancy Cooper had already agreed that her husband could play tennis with a friend and also made tentative plans with another friend to go to the pool.

They have also referred to Adam as one of Nancy Cooper’s “divorce friends,” with whom they have said she developed friendships after deciding she wanted to divorce her husband.

"She was already airing the marriage’s dirty laundry, listing Brad’s faults and embellishing as only Nancy could,” defense attorney Howard Kurtz said during opening statements last week.

Kurtz said that Nancy Cooper biased her friends against Brad Cooper to ensure they would take her side and that Nancy Cooper was "seeing the world through divorce-colored glasses."

But her longer-term friends, who knew Brad when the marriage was on better footing, “were not fed the same distorted negative information about Brad," Kurtz said. "Nancy knew better, so Nancy didn’t not tell them things they would not have believed.”

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  • emwolb Mar 17, 2011

    It's pretty obvious to me that Nancy Cooper did in fact kill Brad Cooper! He has lost his job, lost his children,lost his home,lost his credit,lost any savings he might have had. all because the Lochmere Wives wanted it that way.

  • raleighwildman Mar 16, 2011

    dlk13ster.... I am a supporter of the CPD in the shooting of the bank "robber." I think you act like you have a weapon, you run the risk of being shot by police. Police priority is and should be ensuring the safety of innocent civilians and not criminals in the act of committing a crime.

    I am a supporter of first responders in most cases. Generally when a particular person is considered the main suspect, that decision is made by leadership, not officers on the ground. I think the detectives and beat cops are sincere, not so sure about the politicians.

  • raleighwildman Mar 16, 2011

    dlk13ster.... I already stated I am playing devil's advocate. None of us know the real truth; did Brad kill his wife or did someone else kill Nancy? If Nancy was jogging (as 16 witnesses say they are pretty sure they saw her jogging on the morning in question) then it is much less likely Brad is guilty. Lochmere "comes alive" by 7-7:30 AM on a Saturday. Do you really think he could have killed her and concealed her body, driven her to where she was found without anyone seeing him? Those busy body neighbors already had it out for him and would seemingly have noticed. This all assumes Nancy was actually seen jogging that morning.

    I am not saying CPD is that sloppy or corrupt. I am saying thee are those who would rather railroad a possibly innocent man than consider a violent crime committed as anything other than domestic violence. I wait patiently for real physical evidence. He may be guilty, he may not. No one argues that what happened is tragic and awful!!!

  • dlk13ster Mar 16, 2011

    "perhaps Nancy's life was taken by illegal aliens. There, I said it."-raleighwildman

    If we're going to start offering up wild, unsubstantiated (and slanderous) speculation, why not start with black people?

    Surely there are enough "unnamed black male(s), approximately 5'6''-6'1'', between the ages of 18-30" in Cary that they could round up at least a FEW "potential suspects." I mean, after all STATISTICALLY more blacks are in jail than any other ethnic/racial group (incl. illegals).

    (Grant that's partly because, statistically, they tend to receive longer sentences, and get passed over for parole more frequently, even when you control for prior history and extenuating/aggravating circumstances)

    Honestly, I don't know if Mr. Cooper is or isn't guilty. That's for a court & jury to decide. But to hurl wild allegations like that is not an insult to ILLEGALS--its an insult to the ENTIRE CPD.

    Are you saying CPD is THAT sloppy/corrupt?

    And if so, what evidence do you have to support that?

  • raleighwildman Mar 16, 2011

    Anastasia... fair points. I have not followed the trial every second of every day so I do not know if physical evidence has been presented. Let's assume there is DNA presented, given the problems with the crime lab, I venture to guess most members of the jury have at least heard about the admitted problems with the crime lab. Is that enough to shed doubt?

    You bring up good points about DNA, hair, etc. I am playing devil's advocate to an extent. I have no clue if the defendant is innocent or guilty. As to why the defendant did not talk with Jessica Adam and the other loose lipped (I don't just mean their mouths) women of Cary, probably because he knows they are all catty and hate him. Tough job those women (stereotypical Cary housewives) have.... lay on your back, have kids and look pretty (except in Jessica Adam's case). Boredom on their part is probably what drives them to swing and to gossip.

  • anastasia Mar 16, 2011

    There is crime in Cary, just like there is crime in any community. I do not know if I have seen much speculation that perhaps Nancy's life was taken by illegal aliens. There, I said it. Let's be honest; there are so many illegal aliens in this area that no one wants to talk about.
    ------

    I've never liked Cary, too snooty, too materialistic, etc. But wildman, if Nancy was murdered by a couple illegals, they certainly wouldn't have been knowledgeable enough to remove all traces of their DNA from Nancy's body. All skin cells, every last stray hair, etc. If nancy were abducted and murdered by lowlife scums, she would have plenty of foreign DNA on herself. And she would have semen stains, because after all, if they grabbed her and left her naked, it was for rape, right? I'm sure Brad's attorney's will be able to point out the DNA that doesn't belong.

  • raleighwildman Mar 16, 2011

    Cary is a planned community, fact. The politicians in Cary work very hard to portray Cary as a "safe and prosperous community" where candy falls from the sky, fountains flow with gold and everyone is nice. There is crime in Cary, just like there is crime in any community. I do not know if I have seen much speculation that perhaps Nancy's life was taken by illegal aliens. There, I said it. Let's be honest; there are so many illegal aliens in this area that no one wants to talk about.

  • RM24 Mar 16, 2011

    Imagine being in Brad Coopers shoes today if he is telling the truth and is innocent. Imagine having your wife/mother of your children murdered. Then having the police trust these women without any evidence. Loosing your kids to her parents in another country. Loosing your job. Spending 2 years in jail. And at the end of the trial all the "evidence" presented was a bunch of angry housewives saying you did it. Having your name ruined. CAN YOU IMAGINE that. NOW I DO NOT know he is innocent. But from what I have seen thus far I CAN ONLY presume he is innocent because he HAS NOT been proven GUILTY. That is what our laws state btw. But just imagine being INNOCENT and having to endure this.??? WOW.

  • _kommon_sense_ Mar 16, 2011

    @ raleighman you bring up a very good point if that true b/c it was stated that the friendship was strained between Nancy and Clea b/c of the Morwick's loyalty to Brad.

  • raleighwildman Mar 16, 2011

    Same Mike Morwick who works for the United Way? Not a declarative statement but an inquisitive one.

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