July 17th, 2008
12:47 PM ET

Mom slain. Children at risk?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/17/art.nancywithbaby.jpg caption="Nancy with her child from the Town of Cary website."]
Gabe Falcon
AC360° Writer

Police say they have no suspect in the homicide of Nancy Cooper. And no person of interest has been named either.

But there is plenty of speculation – some includes Nancy’s husband, Bradley Cooper.

He told investigators his wife went jogging Saturday morning, and never returned. Her body was found two days later, floating in a pond, within a few miles of their home in Cary, North Carolina.

Nancy had been killed, although authorities won’t disclose how. The police chief called it an “isolated incident.”

Those who knew the 34-year-old say Nancy was a devoted wife and loving mother of their two young daughters.

Her family does not say the same about Bradley. According to Nancy’s father and sister, Bradley was having an affair and poses an imminent danger to the children.

We don’t know if those allegations are true. We do know that a judge today ruled there was enough evidence to transfer custody of the couple’s daughters to Nancy’s family.

The police continue to search for leads and for the killer. They have also searched the couple’s home and cars.

The town of Cary is grieving one of their own. It has also posted photographs of Nancy, her husband, and her children for the public. See the pictures.

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Annie Kate

    I would hope the father would not hurt his children but for the judge to transfer them to the custody of their mother's family, it does seem like that possibility does exist. Courts try everything in the world to keep the children with a natural parent

    Since he doesn't have to worry about caring for his children he ought to have plenty of time to assist the police in their search for Nancy's killer.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    July 17, 2008 at 9:34 pm |
  2. DK

    I live in Morrisville, which is essentially Carey, since Morrisville is so small and they are with a minute two of each other.. I also work for Cisco.. I must say, this whole case is awful, because Carey and Cisco are both beautiful places

    July 17, 2008 at 9:20 pm |
  3. Linda

    I agree that statistically the husband/boyfriend is the most likely suspect when a woman is murdered. AND my gut tells me that he did it or knows who did. BUT, until quite recently I was absolutely SURE that JonBenet Ramsey was killed by her father and that her mother covered it up. I'm glad to be wrong and ashamed that I was so willing to write off an innocent man as guilty. It gives me a moment of pause in this case.

    July 17, 2008 at 9:09 pm |
  4. Barbara

    Wow, I am in shock. Cindy are you this guys affair. Scott Peterson, and Neil Entwistle. Both guys who killed their wives and children. Wasn't Scott having an affair. You are just too defensive of this guy.

    July 17, 2008 at 8:06 pm |
  5. Richmond, CA

    Murder is never necessary.
    If a husband no longer loves his wife, be mature enough to admitted to yourself and her.

    Yes alimony will be in the picture. It is interesting that men today do not want to pay alimony/child support so they take the lives of the all family. What a sad society we live in today!! These children are victims of selfishness and greed!!
    Will this ever end?? Yes
    more later
    Richmond CA

    July 17, 2008 at 7:58 pm |
  6. Danielle

    If he killed her, he shouldn't have the privilege to raise HER kids after he killed their mother. Whether he would physically harm them or not. If they were old enough to make their own choice, Im pretty sure they wouldnt want to live with the man who murdered their own mother.

    July 17, 2008 at 7:46 pm |
  7. Linda Medina

    For some men, the very affair starts some men turning their back on their family. Their new sex object obliterates any feeling they have for wife and children except what they fake. I know from personal experience.
    Ok, I don't know if he is guilty.
    But IF - JUST IF - he is, leaving those children with him one more day while he would pretend to be the loving parent filled with concern for them is a horror those children will live with long after his conviction.
    Better, for the moment, to err on the side of caution and allow the children to be with their grandparents.
    More than one of you said it already. IF he killed their mother, he has already proved how little he loves his children by murdering their other parent.

    July 17, 2008 at 7:23 pm |
  8. Maureen

    She and her family are from a large city in Canada (Edmonton) and he is from a smaller city (Medicine Hat), both in the Province of Alberta. They both come from educated and professional families, but her family obviously has very strong reasons and evidence to have custody of the children. Leave it at that because the judge wouldn't have granted custody if there was not a good reason to do so. I am quite sure evidence in the next day or two will show that he has in fact murdered his wife. This is just a very sad story – she went to the same high school as I did! I am sure the girls will be raised in a loving and warm family.

    July 17, 2008 at 7:07 pm |
  9. hugs1313

    My own opinion is , chances are he had something todo with the killing of his wife.
    Why else wouldn't you be concerned and worried, when she was gone jogging for 8 hours? Why? Maybe he didn't need to find her, or have any check for him, because he knew where she was.
    I will be the first to say I am sorry, IF I am wrong, but IF he did it, we'll find out. In this day and age,unless you are OJ, it's hard to get away with murder, for very long.
    My heart goes out to the poor children, left without a mom.
    NO! They need to keep the kids away from, at least for now.

    July 17, 2008 at 7:04 pm |
  10. Donna

    Sue - First of all, the police automatically look at the husband or boyfriend of a murdered woman because the majority of them are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends. That is a statistical fact. Second, we don't know what evidence the police have or think they have and we don't know what went on in court concerning the reasons the judge gave custody to the grandparents. Whatever the evidence presented was, we have to believe the judge had a good reason to take this action. It is not that simple to remove a child from the custody of a parent without an overwhelmingly good reason.

    July 17, 2008 at 7:02 pm |
  11. Brooke, Md

    Maybe every one should look at this as two seperate issues. all the evidence that i have read indicates that the children were taken not because he is a suspect in his wife's murder, but because he may not be emotionally stable enough to take care of his children. no judge would remove a child on the basis of being a suspect in a murder unless there was direct evidence regarding the same, like a confession or a smoking gun of some sort. i think we all agree that if he is a murderer, then he should not have his children, that is a no brainer. but until that is proven, it is not a basis upon which to remove his children. a suspicion of something is not the basis, it has to be more then that. look at the jon bennet ramesy case. if the police would have taken their son away because they suspected the parents killed their daughter, 10 years later we find out the family had no involvement. i agree that some cases the people are guilty, but other cases they are not and you need to take that into consideration before jumping to conclusions. but more importantly, this is something that should be taken on a case by case basis and determined after the facts are received. if there is direct evidence of foul play, ofcourse, remove the children. suicidal, remove them. but when there is little to no evidence, you cannot remove on the basis of being a suspect. do what this family did, establish other reasons outside the murder to remove the children if the parent is unfit.

    July 17, 2008 at 7:01 pm |
  12. Kasey

    Ok~ So everyone is assuming that the husband did it... did we all forget about "innocent until proven guilty"? So maybe he was a cheating bastard and suicidal at that but we can't just say "ok he did it fry him" The kids were taken for good reason, I agree, but we can't just skip over the system.

    July 17, 2008 at 6:53 pm |
  13. karen

    no one thinks that the woman that he was having the affair with is just as suspect as he is?

    July 17, 2008 at 6:50 pm |
  14. Janet

    And so by the Grace of God,So go I!!!!!

    July 17, 2008 at 6:50 pm |
  15. Janet

    But so by the grace of God so go I????Nancy,Spouse Kids?????

    July 17, 2008 at 6:49 pm |
  16. craig

    How bad do things have to be to lead to a murder of your spouse? Find a better solution!!! Get a divorce!!! What makes one think that they are actually going to get away with murder? How desperate are these morons? If found guilty, make him suffer to the fullest extent.

    July 17, 2008 at 6:45 pm |
  17. Karin

    This is another reason why character is everything. Lieing cheating husband....you made your bed now lie in it.

    July 17, 2008 at 6:39 pm |
  18. steffie

    Extra marital affairs are the dirty little secret of the good old boys club. And most men, whether having an affair or not, will protect the secret. Wake up women. Is it that the men who are having affairs are also the ones narcisistic enough to think they can get away with it and obviously have no problem living two lives? So regarding the seemingly increase in numbers of men killing there wives, I guess these narcisistic maniacs just go over the edge. The male ego is an interest phenomena. Its too bad men just aren't a little smarter. Some of us are on to them.

    July 17, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  19. Donna

    That is not Good for the babies. They are suffering wondering where is mommy. And if he did kill his wife the babies will hate him even more. Those kids are not safe with him at all he should be watched...

    July 17, 2008 at 6:21 pm |
  20. Jackie

    Suicidal individuals not only pose a threat to themselves but thier emotional instability would not make for a logical choice for a caretaker of small children. That is more than likely what the judge based his decision on for the custody issue. Being that he is a person of interest in his wife's murder could certainly not be the factor he based his decision on, quite frankley one would think it would leave the court open to potential legal action on the husband's part, which who is of course innocent until proven guilty.
    Nuff said.

    July 17, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  21. Mechelle

    rob, I will be the first to say that, yes, if the husband is innocent then I would gladly stand up and say I'm sorry for ever thinking he had anything to do with it. I hope for those beautiful little girls sake he is innocent and they don't have to lose both their parents. However, history shows that more times than not it is a deranged spouse, or ex-spouse or girl/boy friend.

    July 17, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  22. rob

    I wonder...

    Will you all jump to aid this man as quickly as you've rushed to a condemning conclusion should he be found innocent of a crime he has yet to even be charged with?

    With no charges, no proof, no knowledge at all of the actual facts, you advocate the removal of custody for his children?

    I'm far more fearful of the ideology I see posted here than I am of a killer. Historically, your behavior has killed far more mothers and children than any deranged spouse or a sociopathic cutthroat. What you sow today will reap YOU tomorrow, people. Think while you're allowed to.

    July 17, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  23. Mechelle

    What I don't understand is why there is so much spouse killing these days? Has it always been like this and we are just hearing more about it now? Do people not realize that the spouse is the first suspect in a killing? I know the husband hasn't been offically charged yet but the police are saying it is an isolated case so apparently they know more than we do. It is really sad that there are so many people that is so miserable with their life that they take someone else's, the mother of their children, and/or their children as well as their spouse. You know, if you are that miserable either get help or eat the bullet yourself!!

    July 17, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  24. madi

    uh Michelle...have you read the news lately in the past year? There have been no less than 3 husbands who have killed their wives/girlfriends and one is a suspect in his wife's disappearance. Now this guy. So killing their wives is alot easier than divorce? Even after watching what has happened to the other guys and their families? What's gotten into them?

    July 17, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  25. Mary Delorme Canada

    If this man is unstable, its not a stretch that he would kill his children
    and then him self. There is a lot that is not being told to the public,
    and I can see their point for keeping it to themselves. Where in
    Canada was she from. I'm just glad that the grandparents have the
    kids, I'm sorry for the pain this family is going through. It seems that
    every week there is another wife murdered.

    July 17, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  26. Pumpkin

    I must of missed something has the husband been convicted of killing his wife? In this country you are supposed to be presumed innocent till found guilty! Many people cheat on thier spouses but they don't murder them! That is no excuse to accuse someone of murder unless there is good evidence that he or she did it!

    July 17, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  27. Brenda

    Its just a shame that if there were problems or suspicions in this family,and if this guy had a known mental issue,that something wasn't done that might could have saved this lady's life.

    July 17, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  28. Alle

    Regardless of whether he is the one who murdered Nancy, the kids should be placed in the custody of family that are not under such heavy speculation. He had an affair, had suicidal thoughts, was emotionally abusive and was not being a responsible spouse or father by holding back financial support from the very family he's supposed to cherish, love and provide for. Clearly he stands out as someone very possibly capable of murder with behavior like that and someone who should be thoroughly investigated. Those girls have been stripped of a mother whom, by all accounts, was lovingly devoted to cherishing her bundles of joy and love. Those girls will grow up wondering why she was taken from them at such a tender young age; if it was Bradley who did it they will struggle with that knowledge throughout their lives. As a mother myself, my heart goes out to those two beautiful children and to Nancy's family.

    July 17, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  29. Sue

    It is a sad commentary on America that it is automatically assumed he is guilty of killing his wife. Do none of you people take into consideration that the police are still INVESTIGATING! Maybe when he is charged with the crime you could consider him as a murderer, not before. But that being said, that doesn't mean that the judge was wrong in removing the children from his care. If there is enough reasons to presume the children are in danger, either physically or mentally, then yes they should be removed to a safe, loving place.

    July 17, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  30. Sue

    Most men who have affairs DON'T KILL THEIR WIVES. Most men who have affairs don't have wives who turn up murdered.

    When someone is murdered, the first thing the police look at is, "Who had the motive?" Once you rule out those close to home, then they look at acquaintances and strangers.

    Duh, Michelle, use your brain a little.

    July 17, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  31. JJ

    He more than likely did murder her...but people automatically jump to the conclusion that ' the husband did it'.
    What if there is a murderer on the street right now?!

    July 17, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  32. lesley

    Look at the facts we know from the case so far. Authorities are calling this an isolated incident. They held a press conference and the only person from Nancy's family who wasn't there was her husband. Police have spent over 24 hours gathering evidence from the Cooper home. You can dismiss that hubby had an "alleged" affair. All the things the family is saying are hearsay. The facts all make him look suspicious. It is probably best for the children to be away from the home for now. Their grandparents love them and will protect them. If this man killed his wife he is certainly capable of harming himself or his children. If he is charged with the murder and later proven innocent he can worry about regaining custody of his children then. Right now he has bigger things to worry about. The children are in a safe environment.

    July 17, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  33. Cindy

    Having an affair doesn't make you a killer. Assuming that he killed his wife...we can't say that he did...that doesn't mean he'd harm his kids. Unfortunately men harm or kill their wives all the time to get rid of them. That doesn't mean they want to get rid of the kids too. I mean look at that nut Drew Peterson, everyone claims he killed his wife yet he still has the kids and he hasn't harmed them. Yes their mom being dead hurts them but he hasn't physically harmed them. If he wanted to harm his kids don't you think he would have already done it or possibly have killed them along with Nancy?


    July 17, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  34. bonanza

    Are u kidding me? Anyone that wants to knock off his wife due to an affair will definitely neglect and harm his children. He doesn't respect the life of others. He purposely took those childrens' mother away from them. He's a narcissictic, self-centered idiot. Wake up and take your head out of the sand.

    bonanza, CT

    July 17, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  35. Michelle Fonthill Ont,Canada

    Why do they always attack the husband in these crime investigations it's just a convience that he was having an affair so let's put the bl;ame on him? I agree with you Cindy from Ga . The main concern right now shold be for the kids and thier grief and to search for the real killer.

    July 17, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  36. Diane...OK

    HELLO??? If he loved his children he would not have murdered their mother. If there is even a suspicion that he murdered her, the judge did the right thing by giving custody of the girls to her parents.

    Sad that having an affair has become so commonplace in our society that no one seems it is a big deal. Why do these men get married???

    July 17, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  37. Mark

    whats wrong with these guys? what ever happened to just getting a divorce if you were unhappy or wanted to stray. was he so worried about support? all these scott petersons,drew petersons,bradly cooper peterson should get a life. by the way, nancy cooper looked pretty darn good for a woman who just had 2 children recently. these guys are losers and dont realize what they had. if he did do it, the children should be removed immediately( see neil enwhistle) and he should rot in jail for life. this is a sad time in america....

    July 17, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  38. Janet

    Obviously there was enough "evidence" to suggest - according to the judge's decision - the kids WERE better off with her family.

    July 17, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  39. Jeni

    Oh. My. God. You're kidding right? You'll acknowledge that it's possible that he killed his wife, but think that just because he killed his wife it doesn't mean he'd harm his kids? So should you be killed we should leave your children with your murderer? After all – just because he killed you doesn't mean he'd harm your kids. (And that is not meant as a threat to you – just a sarcastic comment on your obvious intelligence.)

    July 17, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  40. Sherry

    Maybe so but considering that he 'might' be somehow connected, wouldn't the children be safer somewhere else?

    July 17, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  41. j

    If "someone" killed their wife.....don't you think that they should not be taking care of their children?

    July 17, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  42. Lori

    What???? "Maybe" he did kill Nancy but that "in no way says he is going to harm his kids"? The previous commenter is out of touch with reality. If you kill somebody, you present a danger to children. Those children are defenseless and must be protected, even if at this point it is just a cautionary measure. Thank goodness the children are safe. Lori from Seattle

    July 17, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  43. L

    A man who takes the life of the mother of his children does not deserve them. They will never forgive him, so let them be raised by people they can trust and feel safe with.

    July 17, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  44. Lisa... NC

    The documents filed by Nancy Cooper's family stated that her husband had attempted suicide once in the past and threatened it again earlier this year. He was also accused of failing to support the family and withholding funds to the extent that she was having to borrow money from her family in order to buy groceries and necessities for herself and the two children. There were also less specific allegations that he had engaged in "emotionally abusive" behavior against Nancy and the children. The local law enforcement have stated that he's been totally cooperative, but the whole situation comes off as highly suspicious. I'm also wondering what her friends and family are aware of that hasn't been made public since her friend reported her missing immediately when she didn't show up for an appointment. Had she warned them? Generally speaking judges don't arbitrarily remove children from a parent's custody unless they have good reason. Obviously Nancy Cooper's family had more than just allegations of infidelity to support their request.

    July 17, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  45. Melissa Cota

    I personally feel that the judge made the right decision by giving custody to Nancy's family. If he killed his wife Nancy, he has no regards for a human life he may snap and kill again. The children are safe with her family.

    Melissa Albuquerque, NM

    July 17, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  46. Christie Moore

    "ok, so he was having an affair...maybe he did kill Nancy..."???
    Are these *yawn* not legitimate reasons to suspect him?
    How passive of a person are you? Sounds like motive to me. If the children had been left to stay with him, and he DID hurt them or worse, would you be whistling a different tune then?? I would assume not, your post would read more like "ok, so he was having an affair...maybe he did kill Nancy AND THE KIDS, but that's no reason to think he's going to jump bail..." Laughable!
    What passivity in America passes for morality these days!!!! Was he violent in the past? Most likely, and unfortunately for Nancy, her neighbors were probably as passive as you, and overlooked the need to call the police when this all started.
    AND- I am sure that no judge is going to take children away from a "decent" Father (particularly immediately following the death of their Mother) with out reason!

    July 17, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  47. Donna

    Hmmm Cindy. Guess you think someone who is able to murder another human being is stable enough to care for your children?

    July 17, 2008 at 2:04 pm |
  48. TTM

    If he's capable of murdering the woman he promised to love and honor for the rest of his life, then he's capable of anything. Take the children away and arrest him already!

    July 17, 2008 at 2:00 pm |
  49. Sue

    If he killed her he did harm his kids....... he took their mom away .

    July 17, 2008 at 1:56 pm |
  50. Cindy

    Ok so he was having an affair...maybe he did kill Nancy. But that in no way says he is going to harm his kids! That is a huge jump in my opinion.


    July 17, 2008 at 1:07 pm |
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