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State Police: Cook apparently died from natural causes

BY DONNIE JOHNSTON

The husband of a woman killed by a Culpeper police officer in February apparently died of natural causes, state police said Wednesday.

A maintenance man found Gary D. Cook, 62, dead in his Friendship Heights apartment at about midmorning Tuesday.

According to a news release issued Wednesday by the Virginia State Police, “Preliminary findings into the death of Gary D. Cook by the Office of the Medical Examiner in Manassas determined that he died of natural causes.”

Cook was the husband of Patricia Cook, 54, who was shot and killed by a Culpeper town policeman Feb. 9. Former town police officer Daniel Harmon–Wright is scheduled to go on trial in January on murder charges in her death.

The fate of a pending $3.5 million wrongful-death civil suit Gary Cook filed in May against Harmon–Wright is now uncertain. The couple had no children, and Patricia Cook’s next of kin is reportedly her brother.

Gary Cook would also have been a key witness in the criminal case against the Culpeper officer, possibly testifying as to why his wife was in the Catholic preschool parking lot the morning of the shooting.

Because of the complexity of the situation, the investigation into Gary Cook’s death is continuing, the state police release said.

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