Friend of Overland Park woman found dead in Arkansas describes short-lived, ‘toxic’ marriage

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Friends of a suspect shot by KCK police and his wife who he allegedly shot say they had a rocky, short-lived relationship.

Deputies in Arkansas located the body of 51-year-old Sylvia Pearson late Tuesday.

Some of the last images of her husband Charles Pearson came from surveillance cameras Tuesday at a Village West motel. He told the clerk he’d killed his wife of two years. Minutes later, he’d die in a shootout nearby with KCK police.

But a traumatic death years ago might have had a big impact on their marriage.

Shortly after they were married in 2017, Sylvia Pearson learned her son Cameron Hooks was killed at a Lawrence motel. That’s when Denise Skaggs, who attended the couple’s wedding, said the honeymoon period appeared to be over.

“She just said Charles was no support to her during that time,” Skaggs said.

Pearson’s best man also called the relationship toxic.

“Unfortunately two great people don’t always go well together, and I think that’s what the situation was here,” Clinton Lee Jr. said.

After Pearson was arrested for breaking a mirror in the couple’s Lenexa home, Sylvia eventually moved out.

“She said she didn’t want Charles to know where she lived at, and the next time I talked to her she said she saw him outside lurking around,” Skaggs said.

A short time before family reported her missing Monday morning, Skaggs said Sylvia got back from a trip with a male companion.

“When she was in Antigua, he was arguing with her about the fact that he wanted her back and they could work it out. But she told him they couldn’t work it out,” Skaggs said.

The Benton County Arkansas’ Sheriff said Sylvia Pearson’s body was found at a mountain lodge — right where the note found in the Lenexa home where Charles Pearson was living said she would be.

In their short marriage, both Pearsons worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs. A spokesperson said Charles Pearson left his position at the Kansas City V.A. Medical Center.

If he was suffering the way friends think he was, they are disappointed he didn’t get the assistance he needed.

“I absolutely believe that PTSD played a role in the tragedy,” Lee said.

“It’s sad that any human being that is hurting like him didn’t get the help. I feel sad for my friend whose life was taken senselessly because he didn’t want to get help,” Skaggs said.

Police said the couple had two living children between them from previous marriages. Skaggs said both had been staying with Sylvia since they separated.



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