Deputies: children were pried from Brad Cooper

September 30, 2008 4:58:22 PM PDT
An autopsy report released Monday reveals Nancy Cooper was likely strangled.

The Cary mother was found murdered near her home in mid-July.

The latest custody case documents, obtained by Eyewitness News, attempt to paint a sympathetic picture of Nancy Cooper's husband, Brad Cooper. He's painted as a sympathetic, loving father whose children were abruptly taken from him.

In separate affidavits, four Wake County Sheriff's deputies describe the day they took Brad Cooper's two young daughters after his wife's parents gained emergency, temporary custody of the girls.

Brad was at a Cary restaurant and arcade for children where he was apparently scheduled to meet his in-laws.

Instead, to his surprise, the deputies arrived to explain they were using a court order to take the children.

According to one deputy, "Bella, age 4, was crying and screaming during the process. She clung to Brad when he took her out of the car seat and would not let go of him. We had to pry her away from him."

Deputies go on to say once Brad understood, he was cooperative. They say he tried to calm the girls by telling them they were going to see grandma.

Since then, Brad appears to be the focus of investigators, but he has not been names as a person of interest. The autopsy does not appear to offer any clues.

It states Nancy was killed by "homicidal violence" most likely "strangulation." It does not mention any evidence of a sexual assault.

Investigators say while the autopsy may help, it doesn't provide any alternatives to what they are currently doing.

"I don't think it changes the dynamics of the investigation," Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said. "It just gives us some more information on which to draw."

Willoughby said he thinks Cary Police investigators are doing the right thing by not rushing to judgment. Police said at the beginning of the case they do not believe the murder was a random crime.


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