Local News

Cooper children adjusting well, psychologist says

Posted October 3, 2008 12:15 p.m. EDT
Updated October 3, 2008 6:48 p.m. EDT

— The two young daughters of Nancy and Brad Cooper appear to be adjusting normally to life with their mother's family in Canada, a clinical psychologist says.

Dr. Huzur Altay states in an affidavit filed Thursday in Wake County District Court that Bella, 4, and Katie, 2, are in good physical and emotional health and that their behaviors "have failed to raise any 'red flags' in terms of acute distress or anxiety" following their mother's death in July.

The girls have also been in enrolled in gymnastics and ballet, "seem to be enthusiastic about both extracurricular activities" and have made friends with other children, Altay states.

He expresses concern, however, about the girls in regard to court-ordered Web cam visits with their father four days a week, each for a minimum of 15 minutes, suggesting brief daily phone calls as a "less stressful and more effective way of maintaining their attachment and their relationship."

The children remain in the custody of their aunt and grandparents until at least the week of Oct. 13, when a judge will hear arguments regarding temporary custody of the girls.

Garry and Donna Rentz and Krista Lister filed for custody July 16, two days after Nancy Cooper was found strangled in an undeveloped subdivision three miles from her Cary home.

Brad Cooper has not been called a suspect in his wife's slaying, although he has been the focus of investigators' search warrants in the case. Through his attorneys, he has denied being involved in her death.

The Rentzes and Lister claim Cooper is an unfit father and, among other allegations, that he had been emotionally abusive to and financially controlling of his wife in the months before she was killed.

Brad Cooper has stated in affidavits that the couple had been trying to work on their marriage, strained by an extramarital affair on his part and financial problems caused by his wife's excessive spending.

Meanwhile Thursday, Cary police returned a new search warrant in the criminal case, this one for Nancy Cooper's Blackberry and address books, which Brad Cooper gave to police the day his wife disappeared.

The cell phone was locked, investigators state in an affidavit, to keep information confidential because of the marital problems the Coopers were having.

Cary police Chief Pat Bazemore has refused to comment on the investigation, but said earlier this week that investigators are making progress and are "committed to resolving Nancy's murder."