Death of woman found in Reston fire investigated as homicide - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Death of woman found in Reston apartment fire investigated as homicide

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Jennifer Pearson Jennifer Pearson

Police say a woman found dead after a fire in a Reston apartment building was pregnant and likely was a homicide victim, and her husband has been found dead in Texas.

Fairfax County police identified the woman Tuesday as 38-year-old Jennifer Pearson. She lived in the apartment where her body was found early Monday morning.

Police revealed Wednesday that Pearson's husband was found dead Tuesday in Bandera County, Texas. Authorities are investigating his death as an apparent suicide.

Police say Pearson had suffered possible knife or gunshot wounds to her upper body.

Police say they are not searching for any other suspects in the case. Investigators say there is not a threat to public safety.

Just after 6 a.m., a resident of the apartment complex called 911 to say she smelled smoke, but wasn't sure where it was coming from. When firefighters first arrived, there were no flames and no visible smoke.

"One of the first things we do when we have something like this is we pop the attic just to check and make sure super-heated smoke and stuff will rise," said Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief Mike Reilly. "So we're seeing nothing at this point. They popped the attic and see smoke pushing against one of the far walls."

At that point, Reilly said firefighters went door to door looking for the source.

"We narrowed it down to one of the middle apartments," said Reilly. "We tried the door. No answer. The door was locked. We forced entry. Obviously that apartment was charged with smoke. We did a search of the apartment as we were advancing lines in there to extinguish the fire. We did find an adult female who had succumbed to some injuries inside."

Police wouldn't say initially why they found the scene suspicious.

Investigators waited for a search warrant before going inside the second floor apartment.

A resident who lives on the third floor said she heard a loud argument at about 2:30 a.m., and then smelled smoke just before 6 a.m.

"I'm a really light sleeper and I woke up and my eyes were actually burning a little bit," said Amanda Hamm, a resident at the apartment complex. "We checked it out. We couldn't figure out what was going on, so I tried to go back to sleep. And about 20 minutes later, it actually got worse."

Hamm said she heard cursing during the argument and says in the apartment that burned, she only knew a man to live there.

At around 1 p.m., an officer with a bloodhound began following a track near the apartment. For over an hour, the dog led his handler up Stevenage Road through Reston North Park, down a bike path before losing the track near Reston Parkway and Route 7.

The manager here at the Waterside Apartments would not let reporters onto the property, so we have been unable to learn any more about who may have lived in the apartment that burned.

Associated Press contributed to report


Friends, this is the Pearson Family Press Release for our youngest member and shining star, Jennifer Lynn Pearson.

Well... the last few days have been kind of horrific. Above all, we know that, to Jenny, friends are about the most important thing in the world. We know this because she always talks about you and Jen has a cell phone that has an individual ring tone for each of her favorite friends... and you know who you are. And we know that she would have been irritated with us if we didn't put thoughts of you all first and foremost in this press release. So, please know that we want to collect your thoughts of her.

Jen was a savvy girl, quick with a smile and always ready to talk to those in need of a shoulder to cry long as it was after 3 PM. And we know you could count on Jen to bring a stash of chicken wings and some kind of salad mix to your party.

You may have noticed, recently, that Jen felt the weight of the years upon her and she sent out a call to the universe for a baby to join her in her life's journey. A little person answered that call and joined her for a delivery date around the middle of June 2013. Quick, if you look on Jen's Facebook page, you can see him in a black and white profile. He's perfect and his name is Aidan.

Now we're up to the part that cannot be obscured. Many of you know that a police investigation was underway regarding Jen's last moments. Well the investigation is done and this is what we know. We're working through this and wanted to share our thoughts with you.

So, it comes to this...our beautiful sister and her 5 month-old son were murdered---stabbed, shot and burned, left alone in the cold of a dark February night in Reston, VA. Her murderer, a stranger-husband of less than a year, a back stabber, a craven coward fit to flee for home in Texas, was apprehended February 19th, a day after the dirty-deed. Rather than accept accountability, this individual shot himself to death when stopped by police in Texas. That's the truth of it; that's what we know.

We're now planning how we want to put our dearest to rest in this physical world; her spirit, now free from mundane concerns. We believe that Jen sought the dream of a stable married life with a child, a loving husband and the hope of growing old along with the rest of us on the journey of seasons from Easter to Fourth of July, from Halloween to New Year's Eve.

So here we are and here's the truth of it. Where is she? What does she want us to do? We're asking these questions and making our best guess toward what we think our child, our sister, our love, our dear friend, our best friend...would hope for. We plan to honor Jen's memory and her life very soon and we can't do this without you.

So, in the next day or so, please email us your photos, poems, stories, memories, or ... just plan to bring them with you to share during a memorial service we plan to hold in Springfield, VA (location TBD) very, very soon. ASAP, send your intentions to participate, provide a reading, photos, etc. to Sarah Pearson at


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