Missing Lilburn hairstylist feared her boyfriend

Billy Joe Cook said he had nothing to do with her disappearance and that he is praying she will be found

Five days before Leslie Marva Adams went missing, she asked a judge to protect her from her boyfriend, expressing fear for her life.

Her boyfriend, Billy Joe Cook, 38, said Wednesday he had nothing to do with her disappearance and that he is praying she will be found.

Gwinnett police are searching for Adams, 40, of Lilburn, who was reported missing on Monday. Though police are aware of the restraining order granted against Cook, they have not named him as a suspect in Adams' disappearance, said Detective Marcus Head. He confirmed the boyfriend has been interviewed by police.

"I talked to him today," said Head. "He was cooperative and at this time we do not consider him a suspect."

Adams filed for and received a restraining order against Cook on Oct. 19 in Superior Court. She claimed Cook was excessively jealous and had choked, stalked, beaten and threatened her numerous times during their 18-month relationship.

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA --Billy Joe Cook and his lawyer, Keith Adams during a  court hearing. (NICK ARROYO/AJC staff)
LAWRENCEVILLE, GA --Billy Joe Cook and his lawyer, Keith Adams during a court hearing. (NICK ARROYO/AJC staff)

Credit: Nick Arroyo

Credit: Nick Arroyo

"I am fearful of my life and feel that even when I tell Billy Cook to leave me alone he does not listen," Adams wrote in the court document. "I am afraid that if I do not let him in my life he will become violent and angry."

The judge who granted Adams' request for a temporary restraining order scheduled a hearing for Wednesday to consider extending the order for six months, according to court documents.

Cook appeared in court for the hearing, which was postponed because Adams is missing.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Cook denied being violent with Adams, a hair stylist in Norcross. He said he has not seen Cook since the day she obtained the restraining order. Cook admitted that the couple had argued that day.

"We were just fussing. It was not violent," said Cook, who runs a vending machine business out of his Snellville home. "The restraining order was a misunderstanding. Some of her friends heard us fussing and called the police. But we were only fussing. Her friends never heard us fuss like that before."

Cook said he is aware that police and family members usually suspect significant others in missing person's cases.

"I have received six or seven calls from her family," said Cook. "Her daughter even called me and asked me what did I do to her mother. I am really suffering around this. I am deeply hurt that she is missing."

Lilburn police issued a news release on Tuesday asking for the public's help in locating Adams. Department spokesman Tyler Thomas said officers who searched her apartment "saw some things that didn't add up." He declined to elaborate. The investigation has since been turned over to county police.

In the interview, Cook also admitted to a troubled past. He said he served 13 years in federal prison on drug and weapons charges when he lived in Macon.

"That was 15 years ago," said Cook. "I've turned my life around now."

Adams works at Great Clips in Norcross and is a student at Gwinnett Technical College, according to court documents. One of Adams' co-workers at the hair saloon said employees do not want to speculate publicly about what happened to her.

"She was a great person," said Pegah Doustani, a hair stylist. "She was always upbeat, always cheerful."

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