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Cooper was last seen at her residence at Armour Homes, an assisted living center in the 8100 block of Wornall in Kansas City, Missouri on September 17, 2004. She left there on foot and never returned. She has never been heard from again.
Cooper was beaten, raped and robbed of $225 by a stranger in her home in the 4700 block of Jarboe Street in Kansas City on December 24, 1999, nearly five years before she went missing. She described the perpetrator is described as an African-American male in his mid-thirties, 5'10 and 160 pounds. Authorities got a DNA profile of her attacker and filed six "John Doe" felony charges against the individual. Based on his DNA, investigators determined the man had also attacked two other elderly women in the Kansas City area, one incident occuring as recently as 2005. In August 2007, Terry U. Birmingham was arrested in connection with the attack on Cooper. A photograph of Birmingham is posted below this case summary. He went to trial in January 2010 and was convicted of forcible rape, robbery and burglary.
The attack distressed Cooper severely and she began experiencing headaches and depression after it occurred. It is unclear whether attack or Birmingham had anything to do with her later disappearance, but authorities do not think she left of her own accord or planned to harm herself.
Cooper had an active lifestyle in 2004 and utilized public transportation to get around. She frequented the Independence Square and the County Club Plaza areas of Kansas City, and liked to attend cultural events. She swims and walks extensively. She has not used her passport, credit cards or bank accounts since September 2004. Foul play is not suspected in her case, but authorities believe she may be deceased.