41 Years Later, North Carolina Man Charged in Silver Spring Rapes

A North Carolina man was arrested in connection with two rapes that occurred more than 40 years ago in Silver Spring.

Using DNA, Marion Edward Pearson Jr. of Durhan, N.C. was charged in connection with an April 20, 1981 case, according to Montgomery County Police. At that time, Pearson was living in Prince Georges County when police believe he assaulted and raped a woman near the 1800 block of University Boulevard in Silver Spring. DNA was collected at that time.

On June 13, 1981, a second victim was attacked and sexually assaulted in the area of Connecticut Avenue near Denfield Road, also in Silver Spring. The suspect’s description and pattern were similar to the earlier rape.

Then, in March of this year, Montgomery County Crime Lab Cold Case detectives and forensic specialists from the county Crime Lab, Biology Unit, submitted evidence collected from the April 1981 rape to the national Combined DNA Index System for testing.

On Oct. 31, staff there identified a match and connected the DNA to Pearson, who is now 65 years old, according to police.

He had been arrested in Montgomery County several times between 1980 and 1999 for assault, indecent exposure and peeping Tom incidents.

Marion Edward Pearson Jr. in 1998

He had recently finished serving 22 years in a North Carolina prison for a series of first-degree rapes and was released in 2020.

While in North Carolina, Pearson also committed burglaries with the intent of sexual assault, trespassing, rape and robbery.

Based on the DNA match and similarities between the two cases, Pearson has been charged with first-degree rape, false imprisonment, robbery and assault for the April 1981 case and attempted first-degree rape, false imprisonment and assault in the June 1981 case.

He was arrested without incident Nov. 28 by the Durham County Sheriff’s Department. He currently is awaiting extradition to Maryland.

Police believe there may be more victims. Anyone who believes they were a victim or has information regarding Pearson should contact MCP 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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