Canadian relatives granted custody of children after mom slain in N.C.
A North Carolina court has granted the Edmonton-based parents and twin sister of Nancy Cooper temporary custody of the slain woman's two children.
Cooper, 34, who was born and raised in Edmonton, was reported missing by a friend last Saturday. Her body was found Monday night near her home in Cary, N.C.
Police are investigating her death as a homicide although no cause of death has been released.
Cooper's parents, Gary and Donna Rentz, and her twin sister, Krista Lister, requested an emergency custody order late Wednesday.
Cooper's husband, Brad, had been caring for the children since their mother went missing.
In the petition, the family alleges Brad Cooper had been having an affair and had been yelling at his wife and belittling her in front of the children in the months leading up to her disappearance.
They also allege he withheld money from Nancy, a stay-at-home mother with no other source of income, forcing her to borrow money from her family to buy groceries for the children.
The judge ruled that Gary and Donna Rentz and Krista Lister should have custody of the two girls, 2 and 4.
"Considering the special facts of this case, particularly that defendant has a history of emotional instability and the intense scrutiny currently faced by the defendant as a result of the ongoing criminal investigation of Nancy Cooper's murder, there is a substantial risk of bodily injury to the children while in defendant's custody and that the children may be abducted or removed from the State of North Carolina by defendant for the purpose of evading the jurisdiction of North Carolina courts," the judge said in his written ruling.
At a news conference Thursday morning, Gary Rentz, who is the former executive director of Alberta Social Services, said the family plans to create a "comfort cocoon" around the two girls.
Police said they have no suspects or persons of interest in the case.
Brad Cooper said through his lawyers Wednesday that he will continue to co-operate with police "to bring his wife's killer or killers to justice," and is devastated by the news of her death.