Local News

911 calls in Nancy Cooper's death released

Posted July 22, 2008 11:49 a.m. EDT
Updated July 23, 2008 1:00 a.m. EDT

— A friend of Nancy Cooper tells 911 dispatchers in a call released Tuesday that the slain Cary mother of two was in the middle of a divorce, that there was tension in her friend's marriage and says her apparent disappearance "would not make any sense."

"She was supposed to be at my house at eight and just because of the situation with the divorce, I'm just wondering – I don't know what I should do," the caller says in the July 12 call, made at 1:50 p.m.

The caller, Jessica Adam, tells dispatchers that Nancy Cooper's husband, Brad Cooper, said his wife went out early for a run – he believed with a friend.

Adam says that although it was possible Cooper had forgotten about their meeting, it was "weird" that she had not heard from her.

"She would have made contact with me or her other friend by now – who both had expected her today – and the fact that her car is still at home and her cell phone is there is a little weird," Adam said in the call. "That would not make sense."

The dispatcher also asks if there is a history of violence in the Cooper marriage.

"I don't know that he's been physically violent, but I know there's been a lot of tension," she says. "So I wouldn't be surprised. I hate to say it but I'm just not sure what to do."

About 200 volunteers joined law enforcement authorities and rescue crews over the next two days looking for Nancy Cooper and hanging fliers asking for information about her whereabouts.

A man walking his dog July 14 found her body in an undeveloped subdivision just outside Cary's town limit.

"I think she's dead. I didn't see her move," the man told dispatchers at 7:35 p.m. in a call that Cary police also released Tuesday. "My dog was down sniffing. I didn't see any movement."

Brad Cooper's attorneys, Seth Blum and Howard Kurtz, criticized Cary police for releasing the calls, characterizing the action as a leak that appears "calculated to do nothing more than inflame already raw emotions."

"Selectively releasing prejudicial information in this fashion is reckless, misleading and just plain wrong," they said in a written statement.

Town of Cary spokeswoman Susan Moran said not doing so would have been in violation of the North Carolina Public Records law and that portions of the call required to be redacted were so.

"We did not want to file a motion or make any requests that it be sealed," Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said of the calls. "We didn't think it was critical to the investigation, and therefore, we did not see any reason to try to suppress it. So we've not taken any action."

Cary police have not said how Nancy Cooper died, and they have not named any suspects or persons of interest in her death, although they have said they do not believe the crime was random.

Authorities have also said Brad Cooper has been cooperative with the investigation, and Blum said Friday that his client told police he did not kill his wife.

Brad Cooper told WRAL News a day after his wife's disappearance the two had been having marital problems.

In a petition filed last week for custody of the Coopers' two young daughters, Nancy Cooper's parents and sister claim Brad Cooper emotionally abused his wife and children, withheld funds for basic needs and had a sexual relationship with another woman.

They also argue he is emotionally unstable and poses a threat to the children.

"Because of the intense scrutiny he is currently facing in the ongoing criminal investigation, there is a substantial risk of bodily injury to the children while in the defendant's custody," the claim states.

A judge awarded Nancy Cooper's family, which lives in Canada, temporary custody of the children until a hearing on the matter, scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday.

Kurtz said in an interview that aired Tuesday on Canadian Broadcasting Company radio that his client did not consent to the order.

"Brad loves his children. He is a very, very good father. And he is going to ask the court to return them to his care," he said.