Armed man killed by KCK police leads authorities to body of his missing wife

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- An Overland Park missing persons case is now a murder investigation.

Deputies in Arkansas located the body of 51-year-old Sylvia Pearson late Tuesday. It turns out her husband, who died in a shoot out with police Tuesday, helped them locate her.

At least six different law enforcement agencies across three states helped piece it all together.

Crime tape is now gone from outside Sylvia Pearson's Overland Park home.

Julie Brown is stunned and heartbroken that her next-door neighbor is gone.

"She really seemed like a nice women and always friendly and smiling and waving when we saw each other," Brown said.

Brown got worried when she saw Overland Park Police surround the home for hours Monday night. Police say family members, concerned for Sylvia's safety, told them they believed she left the home with her estranged husband, Charles Pearson, on Monday morning.

"They're trying to contact her during the course of the day. They're unable to contact her," said Overland Park Police Chief Frank Donchez.

Monday night, police pinged Sylvia's phone in rural Cass County, Missouri. The FBI and Cass County deputies searched near 299th Street and TT Highway but came up empty.

Police learned Sylvia and her husband Charles, an Army Ranger and Iraq War veteran, separated in February. And early Tuesday, police caught up with Charles to ask him about Sylvia's disappearance.

"He comes in and talks to us. We conduct a search of his car and his home in Lenexa, and he was cooperative and left after being interviewed by us," Donchez said.

Then mid-Tuesday morning, police said Charles Pearson told loved ones he was thinking of suicide.

He then went to a clerk at a KCK hotel, said he'd killed his wife, had weapons and was heading to the Legends mall, and to call police.

Officers found him in a parked car nearby. Gunshots were exchanged, and Charles Pearson died.

"After the incident in KCK, we were made aware a note was found in the residence in Lenexa that Mr. Pearson had left which detailed where Mrs. Pearson's body might be found," Donchez said.

A map was found, pointing to an area in Benton County, Arkansas. Deputies there used those clues to find Sylvia's body Tuesday night.

"Being a mother myself -- it was horrifying just knowing the longer she was missing, the scarier it probably was for her boys. My kids were worried, too. It is just heartbreaking," Brown said.

Police are continuing their investigation and said the case is a tragic situation all the way around that sheds light on issues of domestic violence and needed care for military veterans.

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