Attorney: Husband Didn't Kill Jogger

The attorney for Brad Cooper, the husband of the North Carolina mother whose body was found Monday, defended his client's innocence in a press conference today, asserting that the grieving father of two "did not kill his wife."

Brad Cooper "is not a suspect, not a person of interest, and he has been very, very clear with the police: He did not kill his wife," said attorney Seth Blum, according to North Carolina's News & Observer. "The bizarre and unsupported theories floating around television and the Internet have made it impossible for us to sit quietly and to say nothing."

Repeated calls to Brad Cooper's lawyer by were not immediately returned.

Blum described his client as a "very private man" who is not "accustomed to the hot glare of the media spotlight," the paper reported.

"Brad Cooper is also a man in mourning," said Blum. "He's lost his wife. He is grieving. Different people grieve in different ways. Mr. Cooper wishes to mourn privately. He does not want to do it at press conferences."

Speculation about Cooper's involvement in his wife's death has grown during recent days and peaked Thursday when custody of the Cooper's two young children was taken away from the husband after his wife's family said he posed a danger to the children.

The parents and sister of Nancy Cooper won custody of the Cooper's two young children after alleging that her husband was abusive toward his wife and kids before she was killed, according to a custody petition obtained by Thursday.

According to the petition filed in Wake County, N.C., Wednesday by Cooper's mother and father, Garry and Donna Rentz, and her identical twin sister, Krista Lister, Brad Cooper would routinely deny his wife money needed for grocery shopping and was unfaithful to her in the months leading up to her murder.

Brad Cooper "engaged in a pattern of emotional abuse," "frequently yelled at Nancy Cooper and belittled her in the presence of the minor children," and was unfaithful to her in the months leading up to her death, according to the petition.

When her husband would allegedly withhold financial support from Cooper, the mother would become so desperate for cash that she was forced to borrow money from family members, according to the petition.

Cooper's family also claims that Brad Cooper is "mentally unstable" and threatened to commit suicide in the winter of 2008.

Brad Cooper has not been named a suspect or a person of interest in his wife's murder, police said.

In a press conference Thursday, Cary, N.C., police announced that Cooper's family had succeeded in retaining custody of the children after filing an emergency custody petition.

"Late yesterday custody of Nancy and Brad's two children, Isabella and Gabriella, was officially transferred to [Nancy's family]," said Bazemore.

"This custody issue is a private civil matter,"said Bazemore, who declined to take any questions from reporters, citing an agreement with the district attorney's office. "It was not initiated by the town of Cary and was not a part of the investigation into Nancy's murder."

Despite investigators' combing of the Cooper's home, authorities have still not made any arrests in connection with the homicide.

"We have still not named a suspect or a person of interest," Bazemore said. "Everyone in this case is still cooperating."

Brad Cooper, Nancy's husband, was not present at the press conference, but his attorney released a statement on his behalf saying that Brad is devastated by his wife's death and that he'll continue to cooperate with law enforcement to bring his wife's killer or killers to justice.

On Wednesday, authorities investigating the Cooper murder obtained a search warrant for Cooper's home as well as permission to take forensic evidence from Brad Cooper.

Nancy's husband has since submitted saliva and DNA samples to authorities, according to local reports.

Investigators said they believe that Cooper's murder Saturday was neither an "isolated incident" nor a "random act of violence."

Police have not revealed how she died.

The search warrant allowed investigators to do a much more thorough search of the couple's upscale property.

Cooper, 34, was last seen by her husband at 7 a.m. Saturday morning before going for a jog, police said, and was also spotted by friends the night before at a neighborhood dinner party.

But when a friend who had planned to meet Cooper later on Saturday became concerned when the stay-at-home mother of two failed to show up, she alerted police.

"Her friend Jessica Adams called 911 Saturday at 2:51 p.m.," said Deanna Boone, interim deputy public information officer for the town of Cary who said she did not know why Cooper's husband was not the one to report her missing.

After more than two days of searching, a local man walking his dog reported seeing a body on the banks of a storm water retention pond within miles of Cooper's home.

Late Tuesday evening, authorities confirmed that the body was in fact that of Nancy Cooper, and declared the case a homicide investigation.

While could not reach Brad Cooper, who works at the networking company Cisco Systems, but he spoke to a reporter from North Carolina's News & Observer Tuesday before his wife's body was found.

Admitting that he and his wife were having "marital problems," the husband told the paper that he didn't believe the situation to be so bad that his wife would leave him.

Authorities declined to comment on local reports that a surveillance video exists in which Brad Cooper is allegedly shown purchasing bleach the night before Cooper's disappearance.

"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," said Bazemore.