Nancy Cooper

Brad Cooper seemed insincere, detective recalls

Posted March 16, 2011

— Brad Cooper's reaction to the news that authorities might have found his wife's body did not seem sincere to the officers who broke the news to him, a Cary police detective testified Wednesday.

Adam Dismukes said Brad Cooper was sitting down on the evening of July 14, 2008, when they told him about the discovery near Holly Springs Road and Fielding Drive, about 3 miles from the couple's Cary home.

At the time, police still had not made a positive identification of the body.

"Mr. Cooper was holding his head and groaning, but I did not see him cry," Dismukes said. "The groaning seemed a little strange and a little forced."

Brad Cooper, 37, is on trial for first-degree murder in Nancy Cooper's July 12, 2008, death. He has claimed that she went jogging on the morning of her death and never returned home.

In several hours of testimony for the prosecution on Wednesday, Dismukes said that Brad Cooper seemed tired during their first interviews at the Cooper home the day Nancy Cooper was reported missing.

He also observed an adhesive bandage on Brad Cooper's left middle finger and red markings on the back of his neck.

The TV in the den was also tuned in to a golf match.

"That struck me as odd, given the nature of the (police) call," Dismukes testified.

A while later, Dismukes said, he was taking photos of the Cooper home when Brad Cooper commented that "he thought I would have a more high-powered camera."

"It struck me as bizarre, due to the nature of this being a missing person case," he said.

Dismukes said Brad Cooper also told him that Nancy Cooper's membership card had been swiped at her gym, Life Time Fitness, at 2:45 p.m. The detective later found out that an employee had entered her name to see if she checked in, which registered as a check-in but was generated by him inquiring.

"Nancy's membership card had not been swiped," he said, adding later that investigators found the card in a top chest of drawers in her bedroom.

Among other testimony from Dismukes:

  • Dismukes saw a purse in the floorboard of Nancy Cooper's BMW SUV with cash and a pair of children's jeans on the car seat. Outside, he observed a floor mat on the ground between her SUV and Brad Cooper's BMW that appeared to belong to the car.
  • Brad Cooper told investigators that, although he did not see his wife leave, he thought his wife usually wore a black and red sports bra when she ran. Nancy Cooper’s body was found with a similarly colored sports bra, the only piece of clothing on her.
  • Investigators thought Nancy Cooper might have died in the house, "due to the defendant's own statements and other statements," and at one point, Brad Cooper commented to them that they thought he was already a suspect.
  • When police went to the Cooper home with a search warrant, Brad Cooper questioned investigators about their right to be there.

Jeremy Burgin, a K-9 officer for the Cary Police Department, also testified on Wednesday that, on the night of Nancy Cooper's disappearance, he used her shoe to give his dog a scent to follow.

But the dog was never able to get a strong enough odor outside to track Nancy Cooper, indicating to Burgin that there was no scent of her leaving the house.

"He never entered into that tracking mode," Burgin said. "The odor outside – whatever existed outside – was not as great as Nancy's odor inside the house. Max was working inside the house, because he knew her odor was more saturated inside the house."

On Tuesday, jurors heard from Carey Clark, the woman who Brad Cooper has said he thought went jogging with his wife. She testified that she had no plans to run with Nancy Cooper on the day she disappeared.

Prosecutors have said the Coopers, both Canadian citizens, were in the process of separating and both had planned for Nancy Cooper to return to Canada with the couple's two young daughters.

In April 2008, however, Brad Cooper changed his mind, removed his wife's name from their bank and credit card accounts and took from her the children's passports to keep her from leaving, the state has said.

Defense attorneys have said the couple was struggling financially and that their client had to take such measures to keep them from financial ruin.

He changed his mind about Canada, because he realized he likely would not be able to see his daughters as often as he would have wanted.

The defense has said Cary police investigators disregarded evidence in the case, including 16 people who said they thought they saw Nancy Cooper jogging, that could have proved Brad Cooper did not kill his wife, because they were concerned about the town's reputation for being a safe community.


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  • anastasia Mar 17, 2011

    I saw no time of death listed, but all lividity was gone and decomposition was extensive.

    I will attempt again to post the link:

    We're sorry for the inconvenience, but we've found a word or a combination of words that could potentially be considered inappropriate to some of our visitors.

    I saw no time of death listed, but all lividity was gone and decomposition was extensive. I will attempt again to post the link:

    In order to respect all members of our community we err on the side of caution. Please forgive us if we have flagged a word or combination of words that you feel is appropriate. All you have to do is change the highlighted words to post your comment.

    The part of my post highlighted is 008/09/29/ and on with more numbers, the actual www address to the link to the autopsy report from which I am reading.

    Another 'no go'.

  • anastasia Mar 17, 2011

    It's odd that WRAL wouldn't allow the autopsy link since I found it on WRAL's site via Google.

    March 17, 2011 1:13 p.m.


    I found it odd too, hence my THREE attempts to post it, the final one being simply the link to the site, and nothing, no words from me. Each time the BRIGHT RED warning came up saying my post was NOT allowed in it's form.

  • cdhrtp Mar 17, 2011

    Interesting - stomach has reddish brown liquid. Wonder how late it was that she ate those ribs at the party and how long it would take for that to be digested?

    Any one seen any indication of if they have some idea of time of death?

  • JAT Mar 17, 2011

    Also, it says there was caffeine her system with a reddish brown liquid in her stomach (coffee?). Did anyone think to see if the coffee pot had been used that morning?

  • JAT Mar 17, 2011

    It's odd that WRAL wouldn't allow the autopsy link since I found it on WRAL's site via Google.

    Says there was only 1 earring found. Was it just a 3rd piercing or was one missing?

  • BostonCollegeMom Mar 17, 2011

    From WRAL Twitter

    Defense to officer: You told witness Keith Prichard that "consistency was good" when it came to stories about the Coopers. #coopertrial

    Defense says witnesses made sure their stories matched up. Undercover officer says that's not the way he intended it. #coopertrial

    Yep the housewives practiced their testimony to make sure they were all saying the same thing.

  • BostonCollegeMom Mar 17, 2011

    anastasia - I understand the autopsy report is horrific but is there any evidence in the report that links to Brad? I don't think so.

    I think the main thing here is that you want Brad to pay for this murder. Most of us want the killer to pay for the murder. Right now I have seen NOTHING that points to Brad.

  • cdhrtp Mar 17, 2011

    The necklace- - the one she "always" wore. Interesting that the picture on the missing person poster doesn't seem to show her wearing the necklace. Nor do the pictures they used of her and the kids at the memorial service....

  • anastasia Mar 17, 2011

    and it states that the bladder was empty which could be due to the decomposition.


    I think the major decomposition was in the soft tissue areas of the body. It was discovered rather quickly, only 2 days. I don't think her internal organs would decompose that quickly. It was mainly her face, a spot that insects like, along with the genital area, a prime spot also for insect activity.

  • anastasia Mar 17, 2011

    BTW, I hope you can post the link to the autopsy just in case someone wants to read it. Thanks.

    I've attempted to post the link to the autopsy three times, each time the censors refused it. It was nothing in the wording of my post that was rejected, the RED HIGHLIGHTED parts of my post that were refused were the actual numbers in the link to the report. Go to google and enter 'nancy cooper autopsy report' and you can pull it up that way. As I've said, it's a very sad read, the amount of insect activity was huge for the body being discovered that quickly. Had Nancy been clothed on the bottom, I think it would have taken a bit longer for the insects to devour as much as they did. Genital areas are prime insect draws, unfortunately, as is the face/eyes. Face down as she was......