Local News

Woman's body found in Wake County could be missing jogger

Posted July 14, 2008 10:16 p.m. EDT
Updated July 15, 2008 9:49 a.m. EDT

— A woman's body was found Monday evening in Wake County, and police said they were looking into the possibility that it was the body of a missing Cary woman, Nancy Cooper.

The woman was lying in dirt alongside a cul-de-sac that has been cut in preparation for a new subdivision, Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said.

“It is just a typical subdivision, with a lot of streets cut and cul-de-sacs cut, under construction. I don’t even think there is a house down this particular cul-de-sac,” Harrison added.

Cary police initially had said that a man who found the body while walking his dog had spotted it in a pond. The body was near Holly Springs Road and Fielding Drive, outside Cary city limits in the area of Lochmere.

That is not far from where the mother of two reportedly went missing.

“We’re not making any assumptions that this is Nancy, but we are working with the Wake County Sheriff’s Office to identify the body,” said Cary Police Chief Pat Bazemore. “It is a sad and difficult time for all of us. Our hearts are with Mrs. Cooper’s family and close friends during this very trying time.”

Jessica Adams, a friend of Nancy Cooper, reported her missing at 2:15 p.m. Saturday when she failed to show up for a visit, police said at a news conference Monday evening.

Brad Cooper told police his 34-year-old wife went out for a jog around 7 a.m. Saturday but did not return by 9 a.m. as planned.

When asked why Brad Cooper had not called police about his wife, Bazemore said, "We don't know why the husband didn't report her missing."

Police sent the woman's body found Monday evening to the state medical examiner in Chapel Hill for identification.

"We have an unidentified female body and we are working very closely with Cary and tomorrow (Tuesday) morning they will find out from the autopsy, the cause of death and who this person is," Harrison said.

Police described Cooper as being 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighing about 120 pounds, with hazel eyes and brown hair that goes just past her shoulders. She was last seen wearing a T-shirt, running shorts and light blue running shoes.

Bazemore said that Brad Cooper was being cooperative and had agreed to let the police search the couple's house and cars. She confirmed that he had told police that they were experiencing marital problems.

"I never understood there to be anything in terms of a physical threat, but a tense marriage. No, I didn't have any specific reason other than just concern for my friend,” Adams said of reporting her friend missing.

Brad Cooper made his first public statement at an evening news conference, but did not answer any questions. He thanked all the volunteers and said he hopes anyone with information would come forward.

"I want to thank all the hundreds of volunteers who came out and are continuing to come and if anyone knows anything, I would like them to contact the police with any information they may have,” Brad Cooper said.

About 200 people have joined search parties that covered the areas of Lochmere Lake and Regency Park, which were believed to be routes Cooper regularly jogs. They also posted more than 2,000 fliers.

"The police have asked us to look a little bit further off the trail," search organizer Mike Morwick said Monday. "Yesterday, we covered every trail in the Lochmere Regency area. We're just going further, we're looking further into the brush to see if there's anything that might raise suspicion."