Nathaniel Cook and Anthony Cook: Where are the Serial Killers Now?

In the episode titled ‘Surviving the Cook Brothers’ of ‘People Magazine Investigates: Surviving a Serial Killer,’ the viewers get a detailed account of the 1980-81 massacre in Toledo driven by Nathaniel and Anthony Cook. One of the survivors recounts the traumatic confrontation with the serial killers in 1981 that altered the course of her life forever. The intricate details of the brothers’ reign of terror instill fear and curiosity in the minds of the viewers regarding their current whereabouts.

Nathaniel and Anthony Cook Were Involved in the Rape and Murder of At Least Nine People

While Anthony Cook was born on March 9, 1949, his younger brother was born more than nine years later, on October 25, 1958. They grew up to be two of the most notorious serial killers in the history of the nation as they wreaked havoc on the streets of Toledo and the surrounding areas for more than 16 months from 1980 to 1981. The elder brother was reportedly involved in the murder of at least 10 people, with the younger brother accompanying him in four of them. Their murderous rampage began with 24-year-old Thomas Gordon and his 18-year-old girlfriend. The Cook brothers ambushed the couple and took control of their car at gunpoint.

After driving to the woodlands in western Lucas County, they shot Thomas to death before raping and stabbing his girlfriend. Fortunately, she survived the wounds. Their killing spree continued after that, taking several victims over the next few months, including 19-year-old Connie Sue Thompson, who was picked up by the brothers on Cherry Street, raped and killed on January 3, 1981, and Dawn Rene Backes, 12, who was raped and tortured by the Cook brothers in the abandoned State Theater on Collingwood Boulevard before bludgeoning her to death in February 1981.

The next month, on March 27, Anthony Cook acted alone as he shot 21-year-old Scott Moulton and 22-year-old Denise Siotkowski after raping the latter in an apartment in Oregon, Ohio. Next, on August 21, 1981, Anthony acted without his brother yet again, as he used a baseball bat to beat 31-year-old Daryle Cole and his 21-year-old girlfriend Stacey Balonek to death after raping Stacey. A month later, Anthony returned to his criminal ways, this time in a more posh area of the city, near the Ottawa Hills police station. He attempted to attack 21-year-old Todd Sabo and 20-year-old Leslie Sawicki, but the latter escaped from his clutches.

When her father, Peter Sawicki, arrived at the scene, Anthony ended up killing him, which eventually led to his arrest on October 14, 1981. Apart from these crimes, the brothers were also reportedly involved in the rape and attempted murder of 18-year-old Cheryl Bartlett Fann and 22-year-old Bud Coates on January 27, 1981. Luckily, Cheryl managed to come out of the attack alive and lived to tell the horrific tale.

After his arrest, Anthony Cook also admitted that he murdered a 22-year-old woman named Vickie Lynn Small back in 1973 when he was 24 years old. Upon his brother’s arrest, Nathaniel did not continue with his criminal ways in the next few years. However, he did end up getting charged for minor offenses. One of these offenses led to his eventual arrest on February 13, 1998, due to DNA profiling as he was charged with the murder of Thomas Gordon and the attempted murder of his girlfriend.

Nathaniel Cook is Out on Probation, While Anthony Cook is Incarcerated

In 1982, Anthony was convicted of murdering Peter Sawicki and received a life imprisonment sentence for the same, while evidence for his other crimes was still not found. After the arrest of Nathaniel Cook, the two brothers admitted to the killings they committed and accepted a plea bargain in 2000. While the younger brother pleaded guilty to the murder of Thomas Gordon and taking part in a couple of other murders of Dawn Backes and Connie Thompson, Anthony admitted to nine murders. Thus, as per their plea bargain, Anthony was once again sentenced to life in prison, and his brother was sentenced to 75 years in prison, with the possibility of parole after two decades.

In 2015, Anthony Cook filed a motion for parole after spending more than three decades behind bars. However, his appeal was denied, and he was ordered not to file another one until 2025. On the other hand, Nathaniel also did the same in 2018 after serving 20 years of his 75-year sentence. Upon finding no basis to deny his release, the court granted his appeal, and he was released from prison on August 10, 2018. However, he was registered as a sex offender, and there were some regulations and instructions that he had to follow, including wearing a GPS bracelet and not going to places crowded with children. After getting out, he began residing on Central Avenue near Collingwood in Toledo. About a year later, Nathaniel was reported to be living only 200 meters from a school in Toledo.

When the locals reported a cause for concern, the police found out that he had not violated any rules and regulations. As of 2020, he had a “Jesus” sign hanging right beside his doorway. Although he did not prefer talking to the media, 11 Investigates managed to converse with him for a few minutes. When asked about his life after getting out of prison, he stated, “How do you think it’s been going? I’m doing the best I can do. I did my time. I’m moving on with my life, and that’s all you can do. People are entitled to their opinions. I don’t want people to know nothing about me. I just want to go on with my life, just like anyone else wants to do. People on the streets want to get on with their life. I’m the same way.” In case of Anthony Cook, he is currently serving his sentence behind bars at Chillicothe Correctional Institution at 15802 OH-104 in Chillicothe, Ohio.

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