Local News

Police search Cary woman's house, vehicles

Posted July 16, 2008 8:04 a.m. EDT
Updated July 17, 2008 2:11 p.m. EDT

— Authorities carried out a detailed search Wednesday of the house and vehicles of a missing Cary woman whose body was found Monday in an undeveloped subdivision outside the town's limit.

Cary police Chief Pat Bazemore said at a news conference Wednesday morning that a search warrant obtained overnight also allows investigators to obtain DNA evidence from Nancy Cooper's husband, Brad Cooper.

Brad Cooper had no comment, but his attorneys, Howard Kurtz and Seth Blum, released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying he would not answer questions from the media but would continue cooperating with police.

"Brad is devastated by the news of Nancy's death," the statement read. "He has and will continue to assist in law enforcement efforts to bring his wife's killer or killers to justice."

Investigators have not named a suspect or a person of interest in the 34-year-old mother of two's death, and getting search warrants for forensic evidence of spouses of murder victims are a routine procedure.

"As you know, an investigation is as important for ruling things out as it is for ruling things in," Bazemore said.

Brad Cooper has been cooperative with investigators and has previously allowed police to search the house, Bazemore said.

"We have not done a detailed search. The search warrant allows us to do a detailed search of the home and vehicles," she said. "That would include forensic evidence."

Forensic evidence could include hair, saliva and blood samples, as well as an examination for marks, scratches or other injuries.

Bazemore said Brad Cooper has also admitted that the couple was having marital difficulties and said Tuesday that information would be part of the investigation.

She declined to comment further about the case, including a cause of death, saying the investigation is ongoing.

"We have talked to a lot of people, and we will continue to talk to people. As we get information, we will investigate every detail we are provided," Bazemore said Wednesday.

Brad Cooper told police his wife went jogging Saturday morning and never returned. A friend called 911 Saturday afternoon when Nancy Cooper did not show up for a planned meeting.

After two full days of land, air and water searches, a man walking his dog discovered the body on Brittabby Court in the yet-unbuilt Oaks at Meadow subdivision. The body was sent to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Chapel Hill for an autopsy.

Crime scene investigators combed the area for evidence Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday evening, they cordoned off the Coopers' house on Wallsburg Court in Cary's Lochmere subdivision.

"The moment that we announced this was a murder, it was important that we secured the home as a possible crimes scene," Bazemore said Tuesday.

Brad Cooper is staying with friends and taking care of his two children, Bazemore said. He was at a news conference Monday evening with his wife's family and was expected to be at one Tuesday afternoon but did not show.

He wasn't in attendance Wednesday, either.

"He's been given an open invitation as the rest of the family has. I do not know why he's not here," Bazemore said.