Thursday, July 31, 2008

Apologies for the radio silence

Most of us are taking a week or so to try to get back to our lives and our families, get some sleep, etc. Plus, we really cannot comment on anything at the moment and are back to our "no press or other media" stance.

I'm hoping to devote some time between now and Sunday to finally setting up the Memorial website and I'll post some Nancy stories there. There are so many!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Back to life, but reality? Probably not for a while.

Most of us who work went back to work today. It was, for me, somewhat of a relief...but there is still so much work to be done for Nancy and the girls that it almost seems like I was going to a second job. I did take advantage of the couch we have at work to take an hour's nap, which was much needed.

I posted Michael Morwick's beautiful graphic for the Memorial Fund -- clicking on the picture will take you directly to the post describing how to make donations.

A committee is forming for the Nancy Fun Run, and a tentative timeframe of October has been kicked around.

I still need to set up a Memorial website to collect stories, but be assured that all the well-wishes so far are going to be collected into a book for the family.

Other plans need to wait on more sleep.

I miss her.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Grief, solace, music, memories

The Memorial yesterday was beautiful. I'm so thankful to the members of our group who managed to pull it together on such short notice and with such style -- Nancy would have been proud.

Visitors were asked to write messages in memory books as they arrived, as John Mayer's song "Say" played in the background. The short walk through the woods to the amphitheater reminded me of the dozens of times we had been there together. When Bella came in, I almost expected her to have her face painted as a shining butterfly.

Hundreds of white roses in gorgeous arrangements surrounded two beautiful portraits of Nancy with her children by Elizabeth Galecke. Flutist Catherine LeGrand and classical guitarist Randy Reed played uplifting, soothing music as we came together to mourn and remember. During the service, Julia Cobley, the girls' music teacher, sung several songs. She was accompanied by a harpist, Anita Burroughs-Price. Each song brought me to tears.

A family member shared with me later that the service helped him get a lot of grief out. I felt the same way.

I'm not sure how much money was raised for The Nancy Cooper Memorial Fund, but last night a friend set a lofty goal for Bella and Katie, and I for one hope it's met. Please help us provide for the two people Nancy lived for. They won't be able to know their mother in person, but they will certainly know what kind of person she was, and how much she affected the lives around her.

I'm hoping to rest today, but we will be setting up a website where people can record their memories or messages of support. I will also be compiling all the wonderful sentiments that have been sent via email or the volunteer form, and all of this will be made into a book for the family.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Nancy Cooper Memorial Fund

The Nancy Cooper Memorial Fund is up and running. Donations should be made to "The Nancy Cooper Memorial Fund" and sent care of RBC Bank, 101 Advent Court, Cary NC 27518. Donations can also be made at any RBC Bank branch location by referencing the Nancy Cooper Memorial Fund. The Account Number is 0300227223 just in case they can't find it.

A dropbox will also be available at the Memorial Service today. Contributions are requested in lieu of flowers.

The wearing of white at the ceremony is appropriate.

Personal note from Diana: I for one am looking forward to seeing all the volunteers...many of you know my face and I would love to thank you in person.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Memorial Details

A public memorial will be held tomorrow, Saturday July 19th at the Koka Booth Amphitheater in Cary, NC from 2:30-4:30 PM.

It is a beautiful outdoor space that Nancy loved, especially for the summer NC Symphony concerts.

The family would love attendees to write something in the guest books, as these will be saved for the children to see later how much their mother was loved and cherished in this community.

A fund for the children is in the process of being set up, but there will at the very least be a drop box for contributions (I'll revise this post when I know to whom a check should be made out).

A service in Canada is also being planned for sometime next week; details will be posted when they become available.

Details of public Memorial on their way

I wanted to assure all of you who were so invested in the search for Nancy that a public Memorial service is planned imminently. Details will be released a bit later today, if I don't get a chance to blast an email, please check back here. They will also be released to the media, but I may have more specific information.

I know many of the volunteers are disappointed not to be part of the vigil tonight. Your efforts on behalf of Nancy and the family are not at all forgotten...and we all look forward to seeing you at the Memorial. I met so many amazing people on Saturday and Sunday.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Private Candlelight Vigil

A candlelight vigil and remembrance is planned for Friday evening, but it is private and by invitation only.

A memorial service is in the works, we'll post details as soon as they are ironed out.

Other ways to honor Nancy are being discussed, but frankly we're all pretty exhausted and might need some time to grieve privately and be with our families.

The family have asked that all the flyers be removed and taken down (which I haven't seen any today, so that may already be well accomplished) and that it would be a welcome gesture to tie a white ribbon around a tree as a memorial gesture.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


We've had several inquiries about whether we would be organizing a vigil or setting up a site where people can share stories...I just wanted to say we are hoping to plan several events and avenues for remembering Nancy. We'll post details here when those details are worked out, and will also blast an email to all of the hundreds of people who have provided their email adresses.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Talking to your kids

The team of mental health professionals who met with us tonight will be there again Wednesday evening at 5:00 PM to focus on adult grief issues.  Child care will be available in an adjoining room, so feel free to bring them, there will definitely be at least three children there to play with.

A few brief notes that we took that I'd like to share...perhaps other members can forward theirs to me or post comments:
  • It's OK to model grief (to be sad in front of your friends)
  • How you approach your children is specific to the child and their age and developmental level.
  • Answer their questions, but don't elaborate.  Only answer the question that is asked.  When a child has the information he or she can process, he or she will stop asking questions.
  • Expect regression (baby talk, bedwetting, thumb-sucking, wanting to be in bed with you), and it's OK to regress with them.
  • Empower the kids, helping them to understand what it means to be safe.
  • Identify people who help us to be safe (teachers, parents, police officers)
  • Reflect back emotions -- ex. if your kids suddenly bite each other, say something like "you must be really angry to be biting, huh?"
  • Validate their fears, validate their emotions
Project Enlightenment was mentioned as a good resource, as was Hospice.

Time to remove the flyers

We would appreciate help removing the flyers at this time.  While we may try to organize something, feel free to remove them wherever you see them.

Again, thank you so, so much for all your help.

No press please

Nancy's friends and family would like to thank the media for their help in bringing the search for Nancy to this unfortunate and devastating conclusion.

At this point we do not want to jeopardize the investigation in any way, nor do we want any hurtful images and stories to be propagated in a way that exacerbates an already incredibly difficult situation for those of us who were so close to Nancy.

For this reason:
  • We will not answer any questions at this time - please respect Nancy's friends' and family's privacy
  • You should work only through the police investigators for information
  • Please allow Nancy's family and friends time to heal
Again, we appreciate all that the media has done.

The worst outcome possible

Nancy was murdered.

We are bereft.  While the family have lost "a spoke in their wheel", we have lost the hub of ours.

Psychologists will be here at 7:00 PM

A group of psychologists has volunteered to be here at the church at 7:00 PM tonight to discuss how we can talk to our children.

We have also called a couple of the volunteers who will come to watch children in another room, so please feel free to stop in with your kids.

Watching and Waiting

There has been a continuous presence at the Lutheran Church today as we support each other and prepare to restart our efforts once we hear from the coroner.  There is another press conference scheduled for 5:00 PM.

The police press conference at 9:00 AM provided the following updates that we found interesting:
  • The Rentz family thanked everyone again.
  • Nancy's brother and brother-in-law will be coming into town today.
  • More details on the location of the body: Britt Abbey Court.
  • It was not in a pond as initially reported, but on the banks of a storm water drain runoff.
  • The autopsy will be conducted today by the office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Chapel Hill.
  • Still officially a missing persons case.
  • The body was found within a 5-mile radius of the home.
  • Both Cary Police and Wake County Police were working the scene.
  • If it is Nancy, the case will come under Cary Police jurisdiction, if not, Wake County will take jurisdiction.
  • Cause of death, or length of days the remains had been there were not specified.
  • When asked why a family member had not been asked to identify the body, the Chief said that they could not tell if this was Nancy, and the family should not be subjected unnecessarily. If it is not Nancy, the family of the woman found should be the ones to do the identification.
  • Reporters asked for details of the person who made the 911 call on discovering the body, but none were released other than that it came in at around 7:30 PM.
  • The City Bureau of Investigation are getting involved today.

  • We continue to hope this is not Nancy, and continue to appreciate the outpouring of support and love -- it is completely appropriate to the kind of shining light Nancy is.

    Monday, July 14, 2008

    Tragic News

    A female body was found this evening near the vicinity of our search area. We do not know if this is Nancy, and still hope for her safe return. It is tragic no matter who it is -- someone has lost a daughter, a friend.

    While we still plan to meet with volunteers tomorrow at Resurrection Lutheran church on the corner of Lochmere West and Kildaire Farm Road, our main focus will be the following:

    • Celebrate Nancy. If you knew her, please start thinking of those quintessential Nancy stories that make her what she is. If they are personal, write them down in a personal journal. If they can be shared, please consider sharing them.

    • Plan the next steps for when we get news from the coroner's office

    • Be there as a community for each other and the family

    It has been suggested to us that we pause our search efforts for the time being, but we want to make sure that we can ramp back up.

    We could use journals, pens and computers with wireless access so that stories might be written down online or on paper.

    Fantastic efforts by Lifetime Fitness members today

    Having spent the entire day so far at the Lifetime Fitness coordination desk, I have been continually amazed at the efforts of people who walked in and said "tell me where to go look"

    Not only have people gone out and covered large areas of difficult terrain, but they've come back to update us on what they did manage to cover and in many cases have asked for additional areas to go back out and search.

    With the rain starting an hour or so back, it's putting a damper on our efforts. Even so, the number of soaking wet searchers that still asked for more has been incredible.

    However, the rain seems to have dampened the flow of new volunteers so we're going to consolidate our efforts to coordinate from the Java Jive location for the remainder of this afternoon and early evening.

    Thanks to all of you for all the efforts to far.

    Google Map updated

    I just finished updating the search map we're maintaining on Google.

    It shows the areas that have been covered by volunteers reporting into both the Java Jive and Lifetime Fitness search coordination points.

    If you've independently searched any area, please let us know via the contact form below so that we can keep people focussed on new areas that have zero coverage.

    Of course, as the police will tell you, searching twice or more is standard practice so it certainly is not a waste of effort to look again. Especially relevant given the heavily wooded areas and many small gullys involved in much of this search area.

    Rainy day in Cary, but the volunteering is still amazing

    People are still showing up in droves at the Java Jive site, and I'm sure the same goes for Lifetime Fitness.  We're attempting to update the maps online but I know I'm having some connectivity issues today.  That should hopefully be solved tomorrow when we move to Resurrection Lutheran Church at 100 Lochmere Drive W.

    If you don't want to stop by one of the coordination sites (and, believe me, they are busy) please feel free to pick a likely area on the map and post that you have checked there. Or print out flyers (I'll attempt to upload it) and take them to any businesses that are willing to keep them by the register. Also, the Kinko's next to Barnes & Noble across from the mall has the PDF there and can make copies. Feel free to post them pretty far afield, we need her face out there.

    We are also interested in fanning out today to more construction sites, wooded areas, streams, etc. The paths less travelled...but please, please, go in groups or pairs and be careful!

    The Cary Police phone number is (919) 469-4012.

    I just added a form to the bottom of the page for people to volunteer with. And now I'm off to Java Jive again.

    Map of searched areas

    A map of the searched areas has been added.  If you see a place you have searched that is not yet marked, please post a comment here and we'll add it.  Thanks!

    MISSING - Nancy Cooper

    Our dear friend Nancy has been missing since Saturday, July 12, 2008.  If you have any information or are willing to help canvass neighborhoods or post flyers, please join us at Java Jive on Kildaire Farm Road in Cary, NC or at Lifetime Fitness on Regency Parkway today (Monday, July 14) starting at 9:00 am.  We had a tremendous turnout today of volunteers, but every set of eyes and feet count!

    If you yourself are a blogger or have any media contacts, please link to this blog. We will be posting any updated information on search efforts or results here. Hopefully we will add a way to sign up for different types of support -- we realize not everyone can get out there and walk.