Nancy Cooper's death ruled homicide

July 15, 2008 9:59:13 PM PDT
Police investigating the death of missing jogger Nancy Cooper.

The case of the missing jogger is now being investigated as a homicide. A medical examiner confirmed the identification of Nancy Cooper's body.

Police made the announcement at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. Cooper's parents, brother and identical twin sister were present. Nancy's husband, Brad Cooper, was scheduled to be there but declined to attend at the last moment.

"Nancy is a mother, daughter and sister, and that's how we'll keep her alive in our hearts," Nancy's brother, Jeff Rentz, said.

Nancy's body was found by a man walking his dog Monday evening in the Oaks at Meadow Ridge neighborhood, which is under construction. It is in a 5-mile radius of the Cooper home.

Police are not saying what kind or how much evidence has been collected from the scene where the body was discovered.

Just minutes after announcing Nancy Cooper's death is a homicide investigation, Cary Police put crime scene tape around the Cooper's home on Wallsburg Court in Cary.

Authorities have not said whether Nancy was killed where her body was found, somewhere else or at her home.

"The last time that she [Nancy] was seen was by her husband, Brad Cooper, just before she was to go out for a jog, about 7 o'clock," Bazemore said.

Police have not done a search of the Cooper's home with a warrant. They say over the last two days Brad Cooper allowed police to search without one.

Chief Bazemore said Brad has been cooperating with police, letting them search two cars Monday night and giving them a purse.

"We've had a police car outside Brad's home and following him," Bazemore said. "We've also had a police car for her family, to do anything for them to make this less difficult."

Reporters at the news conference asked about Brad's reaction to his wife's death. "He was devastated," Bazemore responded.

Many of the questions for police during the press conference focused on Brad Cooper, the couples reported marital problems and whether he is considered a person of interest.

Chief Bazemore said there are no suspects or persons of interest at this time. "We have absolutely no reason to believe this was anything more than an isolated incident," she said. "We do not believe this was a random act of violence."

"It doesn't make you feel safer, it just makes you feel sad more than anything. I just hate that it happened to her, no matter what happened hopefully it will come to justice," Nancy Cooper's neighbor Heather Benicek said.

Meanwhile rumors circulate around the Cary community and the internet.

Chief Bazemore responded to one of them during the presser, "We cannot confirm or deny whether he was at the store and whether he did purchase bleach or any kind of cleaning products the morning of her disappearance."

Chief Bazemore also said she is confident her staff will wrap up the case and bring the killer to justice.

"The Wake County Sheriff's Department and the Town of Cary Police Department are working this case together," Cary Police Chief Pat Bazemore said.

Another news conference is scheduled for Tuesday morning.


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