The body of a missing woman was found in Arkansas, one day after police fatally shot her estranged, rifle-toting husband near a popular shopping area in Kansas City, Kansas, authorities said Wednesday.
The body of 49-year-old Sylvia Ussery-Pearson was found Tuesday night in northwest Arkansas' Benton County, police said during a news conference in Overland Park, Kansas, where she was from. The discovery was made hours after 51-year-old Charles Pearson, a 21-year veteran Army Ranger who had completed two combat tours in Iraq, walked into a Country Inn & Suites and told the general manager that he killed his wife.
Pearson said he was armed and heading to the nearby Legends Outlet shopping district.
Police in Kansas City, Kansas, said that when law enforcement confronted Pearson at a nearby intersection, he fired several shots at officers, who returned fire and killed him.
Ussery-Pearson had been missing since Monday after leaving her home with her husband, who lived in nearby Lenexa, Kansas. Overland Park Police Chief Frank R. Donchez Jr. said her family filed a missing person report later that day after they were unable to contact her. Police then contacted her husband, who allowed police to search his home and car. The Benton County Sheriff's Office said in a news release that he told law enforcement that he didn't know where his wife was.
Donchez said Pearson later called family and friends and said he was suicidal before going to the shopping area, where the shooting happened.
A hand-written note found in Pearson's Lenexa home led law enforcement to search the upscale Whitney Mountain Lodge, which is located above Beaver Lake, and find her body, according to the release from the Benton County Sheriff's Office.
Donchez said her death is believed to be a homicide but the cause hasn't been released. He said no other suspects are being sought. He said the couple had been estranged since February.
Cass County, Missouri, officials on Tuesday searched a patch of land outside of Harrisonville that belonged to U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler. Police said the reason for the search was that Ussery-Pearson's phone had pinged on Hartzler's land about 40 miles (64.37 kilometers) south of Kansas City.
Hartzler's spokesman, Steve Walsh, said Wednesday the Hartzlers didn't know the missing woman or Pearson.
Johnson County District Court online records show Charles Pearson was charged last year with misdemeanor criminal damage to property after an incident in Lenexa on Oct. 8, 2018, that referenced a woman named Sylvia Pearson, according to The Kansas City Star.
Charles Pearson, who allegedly broke a mirror, was booked into the Johnson County jail and released the next day after posting bond. The court records indicate a diversion agreement in the case was signed Nov. 28, 2018.
Donchez said he didn't know whether Pearson had PTSD from his military service.
“We need to do more for our veterans that return from combat,” he said. “This may or may not be an unfortunate circumstance of his service.”