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Affidavits from deputies filed in Cooper custody case

Brad Cooper is in the middle of a custody battle with the family of his slain wife, Nancy Cooper, for the temporary custody of the couple's two children.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Attorneys for Brad Cooper filed affidavits Monday in which four Wake County sheriff's deputies detail the afternoon they went to serve an emergency custody order for his two young daughters.

Brad Cooper is in the middle of a custody battle with the family of his slain wife, Nancy Cooper, for the temporary custody of the children.

Garry and Donna Rentz and Nancy Cooper's sister, Krista Lister, filed for custody in July, claiming Brad Cooper is emotionally unstable and poses a threat to the children.

In Monday's affidavits, Dep. K. Girardin, Sgt. Robert B. Clark III, Dep. Alvis Speight and Dep. Christopher Trice say the children, Bella, 4, and Katie 2, were hysterical, crying, screaming and frightened on July 16 when deputies went 16 to Bullwinkle's family restaurant in Raleigh to remove the children from Brad Cooper's custody.

"Brad was very cooperative when we took the girls from him, and he did exactly what we asked him to do," one of the deputies stated.

The statements echo what Brad Cooper states in a July 23 affidavit in which he says the action was uncalled for.

"Bella and Katie would not have gone through that trauma if the plaintiffs had simply come to get the girls themselves," he states. "They could have handled it without causing a scene, and I could have provided better for the girls' needs and given them clothes, their favorite toys and their medicines."

Attorneys for Nancy Cooper's family responded Tuesday morning with a statement, which said, in part, that the family "is grateful for the outstanding job" deputies did in carrying out the order.

"We are thankful that Sheriff (Donnie) Harrison had the resources to accomplish this task."

Calls to Brad Cooper's attorneys at Kurtz & Blum law firm in Raleigh were not immediately returned.

Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said it is not unusual for law enforcement officers to be drawn into custody cases.

"The thing that's unusual about this case is there is an unsolved homicide and that raises everyone's sensitivity," he said.

Harrison said the deputies gave the affidavits to comply with a request to relate what happened that day. They are not supporting one side or the other, he said.

"They're doing what they think is the right thing to do, and if the other side had asked us to do the same thing, we would have done exactly the same thing," Harrison said.

Nancy Cooper, 34, was reported missing July 12 when she failed to meet up with a friend as planned. Two days later, authorities recovered her body, wearing little clothing, in an undeveloped subdivision less than three miles from her home.

An autopsy report released Monday found she was strangled in "homicidal violence." The report also states there was no other trauma to the body other than a faint mark on her neck and a bone fracture in the same area.

Police have not named a suspect or any persons of interest in her death. Although he has not been charged or named a person of interest, Brad Cooper, through his attorneys, has denied being involved in his wife's death.

Brad Cooper is scheduled to give a deposition to attorneys for his wife's parents on Thursday. They are scheduled to give depositions to his attorneys next week. A hearing on temporary custody is scheduled for Oct. 16.