'It's time': Mother speaks out, police name suspect 6 years after Grandview murder

Photo of Jennifer Cooke (Courtesy of: Charlyn Marie via EG Photography)
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COLUMBUS, Ohio — It's been six years since a Grandview Heights woman's murder. Now, police are publicly naming a suspect and her mother is speaking out for the first time.

Police found 35-year-old Jennifer Cooke stabbed to death on August 11, 2013. She was found in the bedroom of her apartment on Woodhill Drive. Her car was found within walking distance on Palmer Road. Police believe her killer moved it there. Since then, police have not made any arrests.

In an interview with 10TV's Angela Reighard, police named David Culbertson, Cooke's ex-husband, a suspect.

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"Ms. Cooke's ex-husband Dave Culbertson remains a suspect. He was cooperative directly after we found Jennifer deceased, but that cooperation didn't last long," said Det. Zac Scurlock from Grandview Heights Police.

In the past, police only referred to Culbertson as a "person of interest." They searched his home and questioned him directly following Cooke's murder.

"There were numerous inconsistencies in his stories," Scurlock said. "As we started to confront him about those inconsistencies and areas we were interested in, he shut down."

10TV reached out to Culbertson several times for this story. He did not respond, but we did hear from his attorney.

"Police have shared no information with me that would indicate they have any evidence against my client in this matter," said Attorney Kort Gatterdam. Gatterdam said Culbertson answered all of their questions without an attorney and then "it became harassment."

For Charlyn Marie, the years of waiting for answers in her daughter's killing have been painful.

"They say it fades after a while, but it hasn't faded for me yet. I haven't gotten to that place," Marie said.

Cooke's mother stayed quiet over the years. Now, she is breaking her silence in hopes someone will come forward.

"It's time," she said. "There needs to be something (to) happen. If this interview helps, then I have to do it. I have to do it."

Marie said Cooke's life was going better than ever in 2013, the year she was murdered.

"She kind of reached her peak. She had a good job, got through college," Marie said.

Cooke did this while raising her daughter.

"She was a wonderful mom. She would do anything for Vivian," she said.

Cooke was excited about a new love interest after a divorce, according to Marie. However, all plans for a future came to a halt in an instant.

"I called her phone and it went immediately to voicemail, which gave me a sinking feeling," Marie said. "You know, you just think this isn't true. This isn't happening. Am I dreaming this? But, it was real."

Since her death, Marie said it's been difficult knowing her daughter's killer is still out there.

"Why isn't this person in jail? Why hasn't she gotten justice for this?" Marie said. "Someone has to know something."

Police hope a $20,000 reward will help them solve the case.

They are asking anyone that may have been in the area of Woodhill Drive or Palmer Drive on August 8 and 9, 2013 to contact police.

Police said they are heavily focused on the late hours of August 8, 2013 to the early morning hours of August 9, 2013.

"We believe that's when the homicide occurred," Scurlock said. "We are trying to find people that are in that particular area that may have heard something. Either they don't realize it's important right now, or they are hesitant to come forward."

Anyone with information is asked to call 614-488-7901 or 614-340-5484.

Police said they are working with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation to see if new technology can help their case.