Year later, woman's killer is still unknown

35-year-old mom was found stabbed in her Grandview Heights apartment; ex-husband "stressed" that he remains a "person of interest" in case.
TNS Regional News
Aug 11, 2014

 

The sunflowers in Wanda Jones’ backyard already have bloomed and died this year, and she’s still no closer to knowing what happened to her friend and neighbor.

Police have said little about the slaying of Jennifer L. Cooke, 35, who was found stabbed in her Grandview Heights apartment a year ago today.

Jones found her friend’s body in an upstairs bedroom of the town house at 886 Woodhill Dr. It has been a long time since detectives have asked any questions, she said. “Nobody’s told us anything at all.”

In the days after Cooke was found dead, Grandview police told residents that her death was not a random attack, but a suspect has not been identified. Officer Janna Cohill, a police spokeswoman, wouldn’t elaborate last week.

“We’re still going to keep that under wraps,” she said.

Jones said she thinks about her neighbor all the time — no more so than when the sunflowers that Cooke loved bloomed behind their apartments this summer.

“You kind of expect to see her,” she said. “She was such a great person. We miss her.”

Cooke worked at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center as a clinical-research data coordinator in the hematology division. Her daughter, now 11, had been staying with her dad when Cooke was killed and now lives with Cooke’s mother in Grandview.

Cooke’s ex-husband, David Culbertson, found her Volkswagen Jetta, with the keys inside, on nearby Palmer Road shortly after her body was discovered.

Culbertson was described as a “person of interest” by police last year. He was questioned repeatedly by investigators, his Grandview home was searched and electronics were seized, and a DNA swab was taken.

In an interview with The Dispatch last year, he said he was being railroaded. He adamantly denied killing Cooke.

His attorney, Jennifer Coriell, said on Friday that neither she nor Culbertson has heard from police since last fall.

“He’s obviously stressed to still be a person of interest in the case,” Coriell said. “He’s hoping they catch the person who did it as much as everyone else does.”

Even though no one has been charged, there isn’t a sense of worry in the community, Cohill said.

“Of course, everybody’s shaken up by a homicide that’s occurred in the city, but I don’t feel anyone’s in fear for their safety,” she said.

Jones isn’t afraid. She knows that Cooke wouldn’t have let a stranger into her house.

“It had to be somebody she knows,” she said.

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By Allison Manning - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)

©2014 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

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