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Sheriff: Son charged with murder in fire that claimed his parents, brother
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Sheriff: Son charged with murder in fire that claimed his parents, brother

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A Mooresville man faces three counts of murder and one of first-degree arson from a July incident in which three bodies were found after a fire on Loram Drive in Troutman.

Corey Alexander Cook, 21, was arrested Thursday by the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office after months of investigation. Cook appeared before Magistrate Daniel Chambers, who ordered him held without bond. Cook faces other charges as well related to the incident.

“This agency has worked on this investigation since the night of the fire,” Sheriff Darren Campbell said in a statement. “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. Our hearts go out to the families of these victims, and we hope closure can now begin soon.”

The victims were Cook’s father, Johnny Bryan Cook; mother, Angela Dawn Cook; and brother, J.T. “Jay” Cook, 27.

The investigation

On July 27, the sheriff’s office, was called to a residential fire at a Loram Drive home to assist firefighters, who had been told by witnesses there may be people in the home. While the home was still burning, the sheriff’s office received a call from another residence — one of Corey’s grandmothers — stating he had shown up at her residence and was driving his mother’s vehicle, which was very unusual. The caller said Corey had told her there had been a domestic dispute at the Loram Drive home.

Detectives spoke with Corey, who said that as a result of the domestic incident at the home, his mother had told him to leave the house. He also told the detectives he saw his father standing in the doorway with a gun in his hand when he pulled out to leave.

After the fire was put out, the investigation began with the sheriff’s office, Iredell County Fire Marshal’s Office and the State Bureau of Investigation. At that time, three bodies were recovered from the home and taken to North Carolina Baptist Hospital for autopsy. Due to the condition of the bodies, the process of identification was delayed and DNA evidence was taken and sent to the crime lab for comparison.

Corey also was forensically interviewed about the domestic incident, according to the sheriff’s office. At the same time, suspicious financial activity was identified on the deceased individuals’ financial cards by representatives of the deceased, Campbell said.

A report was filed with the sheriff’s office Economic Crimes Unit on Aug. 27, Campbell said. During the investigation and after numerous search warrants were issued and executed, Cook was identified as using the deceased individuals’ financial cards and using them to obtain monies from the transactions. Additional search warrants were obtained by detectives for online financial transactions and other social media content from Cook.

On Oct. 15, Cook was interviewed and confessed to the use of the cards and attempts to gain additional money. He also made statements about his involvement in the deaths of his parents and brother from the July 27 fire. Corey was arrested and taken to the Iredell County Detention Center, where he was charged with 17 counts of felony identity theft and appeared before a magistrate, who set bond at $75,000.

The sheriff’s office returned to the scene of the crime on Oct. 16 with a warrant for further investigation. More evidence was recovered that was consistent with Cook’s statements. With that, the three felony arrest warrants for murder and one felony warrant for first-degree arson were issued for Corey’s arrest.

The warrants were served Thursday, and the investigation is ongoing, the sheriff’s office said.

Follow Ben Gibson on Facebook and Twitter

@BenGibsonSRL

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