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North Carolina man arrested in 2 Maryland cold case rapes from 1981

The suspect in these cases recently served 22 years in prison for similar crimes.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — A North Carolina man was arrested on rape charges more than 40 years after two attacks in Montgomery County, Maryland, the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) announced Tuesday.

In March of this year, cold case detectives identified an open rape case from April 1981 and submitted evidence collected from the rape to the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) for additional testing. 

On Oct. 31, a search of the FBI’s National DNA Index System (NDIS), helped identify a match.

The DNA in the rape case matched the DNA of Marion Edward Pearson, Jr., 65, of Durham, North Carolina.

MCPD said Pearson, Jr. lived in Prince George's County and frequented the University of Maryland/College Park area. 

On April 20, 1981, while Pearson, Jr. was living in Prince George's County, a woman was assaulted and raped near the 1800 block of University Boulevard West in Silver Spring, police said. DNA evidence was collected in that case.

On June 13, 1981, another victim was attacked and sexually assaulted in the area of Connecticut Avenue near Denfield Road in Silver Spring. Police said the suspect's description and pattern were similar to the rape that occurred on April 20.

Based on the CODIS match this year and similarities in the two cases, detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Pearson, Jr., charging him with first-degree rape, false imprisonment, robbery, and assault for the April 1981 rape – and attempted first-degree rape, false imprisonment, and assault for the June 1981 assault.

MCPD worked with the Durham County Sheriff’s Department, and Pearson, Jr. was arrested without incident on Monday. 

Credit: Montgomery County Police Department
Marion Edward Pearson, Jr. in 1998 and 2022.

Investigators said he'd been arrested several times for assault, indecent exposure and peeping-tom, between 1980 and 1999. 

Pearson, Jr. served 22 years in a North Carolina prison for a series of first-degree rapes and was released in 2020, according to police.

Police said his criminal history in North Carolina includes occupied burglaries with the intent of sexual assault, peeping-tom, trespassing, rape and robbery.

Pearson, Jr. is awaiting extradition to Maryland.

Due to his extensive criminal history, police think there could be more victims.

Anyone who believes they may be a victim or has information regarding Pearson, Jr., should contact the Montgomery County Department of Police Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070 or contact Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477). Callers may remain anonymous.

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