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On Nancy Cooper's 35th birthday, friends say it's hard

Cary police say they have no updates in their investigation of Cooper's killing, but the chief says an arrest would be the "best gift" to her friends and family.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Cary police said Monday they have no updates in the murder investigation of Nancy Cooper, who was found dead in an undeveloped subdivision last month.

Meanwhile, her friends set up a birthday remembrance at Cary's Java Jive coffee shop, which the mother of two frequented. Monday would have been her 35th birthday.

Cooper's husband, Brad Cooper, told police she went jogging around 7 a.m. July 12 and never returned. A man walking his dog found her body two days later just outside Cary's town limits.

Authorities won't say how she died, but have said they don't think the slaying was random. They have not named any suspects or persons of interest in the case and have said nothing about the case since the days following the discovery of Cooper's body.

Natalie Goldstein, who was in attendance Monday, said the coffee-shop memorial is an effort to keep the case in the public eye.

"People want to know that this is something that is going to be solved," she said. "Nancy can't speak for herself, so the community is speaking for her."

"All day today, it was a hard one,” friend Hannah Pritchard said.

Pritchard said that when she took her children to school today, Nancy Cooper should have been there.

"Walking through the hall without her just wasn't the same,” she said.

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison was among Nancy Cooper's friends and others in attendance.

"Sometimes, we hear things when we attend these things," he said. "We hear things we haven't heard before. And by the neighbors and communities staying focused, keeping us on our toes, it helps a lot."

Police Chief Pat Bazemore said in a statement Monday afternoon that investigators continue their work on the case and that she is pleased with the progress they are making.

"We know that the best gift we could give (Nancy Cooper's family) and our community is to bring an end to this terrible period in their lives, and we're working hard each day with this in mind," Bazemore said.

"A resolution needs to be brought through soon and hopefully it will be,” friend Jenipher Free said.

Public suspicion surrounded Brad Cooper after court documents in a custody battle over the couple's two children painted him as an emotionally abusive and unfaithful. Brad Cooper's attorney has said his client had nothing to do with his wife's death.

Three search warrants – one for the Coopers' home, another for Brad Cooper's office where he works and another for an undisclosed location – could reveal more about the case. They are under seal until at least Sept. 2.