FROM STAFF REPORTS
A 21-year-old man has been charged with three counts of murder in connection with the deaths of his parents and brother following an investigation by the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office, Iredell County Fire Marshal’s Office and the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation.
Corey Alexander Cook was ordered jailed without bond following his arrest on Thursday, according to an ICSO news release.
The suspect’s parents, Johnny Bryan Cook, 60, and Angela Duncan Cook, 51, and his brother, John Lawrence Thomas Cook, 27, died on July 27 at the family’s home at 109 Loram Drive near Troutman.
Sheriff Darren Campbell said Thursday’s arrest was the culmination of an intensive investigation by local and state law enforcement authorities.
“This agency has worked on this investigation since the night of the fire,” Campbell said. “Various units of the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office have worked on several aspects of it, from Criminal Investigations, Special Victims Unit, Homicide Investigation Unit, Crime Scene Investigations, and Computer Forensics, along with several area fire departments, and the Iredell County Fire Marshal’s Office.”
“Having the ability to specialize in various disciplines allows investigations like this to flow together seamlessly, which allows for arrests to be made, and very good evidence being able to be provided to the courts for trial,” the sheriff added. “Our hearts go out the families of these victims, and we hope closure can now begin soon.”
ICSO personnel were called to the scene of the fire on July 27 to assist fire personnel, who were told by witnesses that there may have been people in the home at the time of the fire.
While the house was still burning, the ICSO received a call from a woman who said Corey Cook had shown up at her residence and had driven his mother’s vehicle, which was unusual because he did not regularly drive, Campbell said.
The woman reported that Corey Cook had told her there had been a domestic dispute at his house earlier in the evening, according to the news release.
Detectives responded to this location to speak with Corey Cook. The suspect told detectives that there had been a domestic incident at the home, and his mother had told him to leave the house, the sheriff said. Corey Cook told detectives that as he was leaving the home he saw his father standing in the doorway with a gun in his hand, according to the news release.
After the house fire was extinguished, the ICSO, fire marsha’s office and SBI began their investigation into the cause of the fire. Three bodies, later identified as the suspect’s parents and brother using DNA evidence, were recovered from the scene.
Corey Cook was interviewed about the domestic incident as well as the fire. On August 27, as the fire investigation was underway, representatives of the victims notified the ICSO of suspicious financial activity on the deceased individuals’ financial cards, Campbell said.
After numerous search warrants were executed, evidence indicated that Corey Cook had used the deceased individuals’ financial cards fraudulently, the sheriff said.
On October 15, Corey Cook admitted to detectives that he had used financial cards and attempted to gain additional money, according to the news release. While speaking about these financial crimes, the suspect also made statements about his involvement in the deaths of his parents and brother and admitted to starting the fire, Campbell said.
Corey Cook was arrested and taken to the Iredell County Detention Center, where he was charged with 17 counts of felony identity theft. He appeared before Magistrate Thompson, who issued a $75,000 secured bond on these charges.
Based on Cook’s statement, ICSO detectives executed a search warrant for the fire scene at 109 Loram Drive and collected evidence consistent with Corey Cook’s statement, Campbell said. Based on all of the evidence, detectives obtained three warrant charging Corey Cook with murder and one warrant charging him with first-degree arson.