Google Maps Search History Helped Police Link Murder Victim to Alleged Killer

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On a July night in 2008, Nancy Cooper went for a run in Cary, North Carolina. She never returned. In October of that same year, her body was discovered and her husband Brad Cooper was charged with her murder. The Smoking Gun? His Google Maps search history.

Police believe that in the days prior to murdering his wife, Brad Cooper used the website to scout dumping places for his wife's body. When FBI agent Chris Chappell was going through Cooper's computer in September 2008, they looked at they looked at the autofill form history in the Google Maps search bar and found he had searched for the ZIP code 21578 (where the Coopers lived). Then they went through the browsing history and cached files, they found that Cooper had zoomed in on the same specific area where his wife's body would later be discovered by a random pedestrian.

But it gets better!(!) According to the News & Observer, Cooper's defense is adamant that someone had tampered with Cooper's computer in the time between the murder of his wife, and the maps discovery by the FBI:

The schedule Wednesday included about two hours of testimony, and defense attorneys had only begun to cross-examine Chappell. But in that time the defense made clear its long-held assertion that someone had tampered with Brad Cooper's computer.

Testimony today will likely return to the electronic insides of Cooper's computer and the possibility that it fell into hands other than Cooper's.



Regardless of what's true and what's false, two things are clear here: first, don't murder people. And if for whatever reason you do, always be stupid enough to leave evidence in your browser history so that we can quickly figure out who you are. Thx. [News & Observer and WRAL via Pat's Papers]