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Greenfield man arrested after his wife's body is discovered in the basement

| Thursday, May 2, 2013, 10:54 a.m.

A man beat his wife with a hammer or mallet, killed her with a pickax and hid her body in a tarp in the basement of their Greenfield home, Pittsburgh police said on Thursday.

Pittsburgh police charged Bruce Cook, 62, with tampering with evidence, abuse of a corpse and creating a fake weapon of mass destruction, but planned to add a count of homicide, Acting Cmdr. Kevin Kraus said.

When his wife, Lois Cook, didn't show up to work at Highmark and missed an important meeting, a co-worker called police about 5:20 p.m. Wednesday to ask that they check on her, police said.

Pittsburgh police Officer Igor Boyko went to her home on Windsor Street, where he asked a man about Lois Cook.

Bruce Cook told police that he hadn't seen Lois Cook in three days and that police could check his house.

Boyko noticed dried blood on the kitchen floor that appeared to be from a foot or shoe smear, the complaint said. The blood continued to the basement door and down the steps to the basement, leading to a brown tarp that appeared to be covering a body, the complaint said.

Boyko notified his sergeant, and more officers arrived. They discovered Lois Cook's body with blunt-force trauma wounds of the head and neck area.

Police learned the couple had argued and believe Bruce Cook hit her with a hammer or mallet, then struck her at least 10 times with a pickax, Kraus said.

In the basement, police spotted what looked like an explosive device on a shelf — an aerosol can with PVC tubing and wires protruding from it with a switch, the complaint said. Police called the bomb squad, and Officer Carlos Schrader determined it was a look-alike of a bomb but lacked the components for detonation, the complaint said.

Bruce Cook told homicide detectives he lives with his wife and had been to the basement several times in the past three days and noticed the tarp, the complaint said. Bruce Cook told police he cleaned the basement steps with a garden hose recently.

Police arrested Cook and questioned him more on Thursday. As he was led out of police headquarters, he denied killing his wife.

Cook is being held without bail in Allegheny County Jail.

Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or mharding@tribweb.com.

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