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March 13, 2011

13 days after her abduction, Whitt woman rescued

Officials find Pearson at Corsicana home; former Whitt area resident arrested

The woman missing in Whitt since her home burned to the ground March 3 was found in Corsicana over the weekend and rescued from her abductor.

Parker County Sheriff's Office officials said Lois Pearson, 62, was kidnapped at gunpoint from her home March 1 by Jeffrey Allan Maxwell, 58, of Corsicana, identified as a former resident of the Whitt area.

Officials said Pearson was taken to Maxwell's home in Corsicana where she was restrained and repeatedly assaulted. After her rescue, Pearson was taken to a medical facility for treatment of multiple injuries and was released and is being held at an undisclosed location under protective custody.

“This is a horrendous case,” said Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler. “We are extremely happy to find Miss Pearson and glad she is getting the treatment necessary to overcome a horrific ordeal.”

Maxwell is currently held in Navarro County Jail, charged with aggravated kidnapping, but is expected to be transferred to Parker County where the investigation continues and further charges are pending.

PCSO officials reported receiving a tip early last week, then said little else about the investigation in the following days.

According to a PCSO press release, witnesses reported seeing a blue compact car bearing a handicap permit near her home moments before it caught fire.

An investigation involving the PCSO and Texas Rangers led to a suspect who previously lived in the area near Pearson, but who had moved to Navarro County, about 100 miles southeast of Parker County.

Once the suspect's home was located, search warrants were obtained and executed, with the successful recovery of Pearson and arrest of Maxwell.

Fowler thanked “all law enforcement officers from Navarro County, the Texas Rangers and the Parker County Sheriff’s Office which assisted in the investigation and capture of Maxwell as well as individuals and the Texas Department of Public Safety Air Wing for assisting in the search for Pearson.”

More details about the case and investigation should be revealed at a Monday morning press conference.

Fowler said charges will be filed with the Parker County District Attorney’s Office for consideration of prosecution.

Parker County Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain said if convicted, Maxwell faces five to 99 years in prison or life and up to a $10,000 fine for the aggravated kidnapping charge.

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