Judge makes decision in Cooper custody case

RALEIGH After hearing hours of testimony and arguments' over custody of the children last week, a Wake district court judge decided Wednesday the two little girls should remain where they are.

The fact that the Cooper children were allowed to return to Canada with Nancy Cooper's identical twin sister Khrista Lister after last week's hearing, might have been a forecast of the temporary custody ruling. But the custody battle is far from over.

Brad Cooper's attorneys say he will continue to fight for full custody of his daughters.

"Brad certainly misses his daughters and would like them back at home with him," Cooper's Attorney Seth Blum said.

But since his wife, Nancy Cooper was murdered --her strangled body dumped at a construction site near their Cary home-- the couple's daughters has been living in Canada with Lister.

The decision by Judge Debra Sasser means they will remain there for now at the home of their aunt and uncle, Khrista and Jim Lister. Nancy's parents, Donna and Garry Rentz also share temporary custody.

"We're thankful," Rentzes' and Lister's Attorney Wade Smith said. "We're thankful that the children will remain with their mother's sister and their grandparents."

Garry Rentz, in a statement released by Cary Police says, "this is a very good day for Nancy, her children, and our entire family."

Although the judge's decision to award temporary custody was announced, the fine print must still be written, things like visitation and communication between cooper and his daughters.

"There are a lot of details that have to be examined by both sides and included in the order," Smith said.

Smith and fellow attorney Alice Stubbs argued in last week's hearing in the custody battle that Cooper killed his wife.

Cooper's attorney's point out that he has not been charged or even named as a suspect in the case.

And although it's obvious from court documents that police are focusing on Cooper, his attorneys are making it clear not only that he maintains his innocence, but that police are messing up by not looking elsewhere.

"We want very much for their invest, for the Cary Police Department's investigation to proceed properly and reach an appropriate conclusion," Blum said.

Cooper's attorney pledged to continue the fight for custody and made another plea to public on his behalf.

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