Steven Pearson hasn’t spoken for two months. He also hasn’t worked, kissed his wife, hugged his brother, called his mother or played pool with his friends.
Since mid-December, Pearson, 57, of Pikesville, has spent his days lying on his back—first in a hospital and later in a nursing home—breathing through a tube inserted into his throat by doctors. He has minimal brain activity and no prognosis for improvement, though his loved ones continue to pray for a miracle.
“I believe that in God, everything is possible,” said Maurice Pearson, Pearson’s brother and business partner. “If you think about it in terms of the flesh, you will think that he can’t get better. But if you think about it in terms of God, you know he could still recover.”
Pearson suffered his injuries in an attack that police believe may have been motivated by robbery. According to authorities, Pearson was found lying unconscious in the hallway of a rooming house in the 1600 block of McCulloh Street in the Upton neighborhood just before 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 20, two days after he was reported missing. He was transported to the University of Maryland Hospital, where doctors found that he had suffered a massive head injury. Initially listed as a John Doe, he was identified after a fingerprint check, according to Anthony J. Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department.
“It looks like the case is still open,” Guglielmi told the AFRO. “There are no suspects and no confirmed motive.”
Pearson was last seen at his Pikesville home about 3 p.m. on Dec. 17, 2012. He had gotten up early that morning to meet Maurice Pearson at a job site. They have a construction and home improvement business.
“It had started to rain, so we had to stop working,” Maurice Pearson recalled. “He told me he was going home. He said he had an appointment later in the day to meet a man to give him an estimate. We said, ‘Bye.’ That was the last time I saw him until we saw him in the hospital.”
Edie Pearson, Pearson’s wife of 20 years, said he returned home in the late morning, then picked up a prescription of hers and took it to be filled. She was bedridden while recovering from a broken ankle and knee injury.
“When he came back, we talked for quite some time upstairs in the bedroom,” she said. “He said he was going downstairs to make himself some hot dogs and would be back.”
At some point, however, he received a telephone call and left the house, she said. He did not tell her where he was going, though he had told her earlier that he was supposed to meet a man about a quote in the afternoon.
“It was 3 o’clock when he left,” Edie Pearson said. “I know that because Dr. Phil was coming on.”
When Pearson hadn’t returned by 6 p.m., she became concerned. Not one for staying out late, Pearson was also the kind of man you could set your watch by, loved ones said.
“If he was supposed to be there at 6, he was pulling up at five or 10 before,” Maurice Pearson said.
A 7 p.m., she called her Maurice Pearson, who made several calls that went straight to voice mail. By midnight, the wife and brother were frantic. They had reached out to several relatives and friends to learn that no one close to Pearson had heard from him either.
Maurice Pearson called police about midnight on Dec. 18, but was told that it was too early for officers to take a report. By 7 p.m. on Dec. 18, though, police and relatives were scouring Baltimore. Not a clue to his whereabouts was found.
“We all got worried because it is not like him to not call,” said Delvon Jones, Pearson’s sister. “He always calls.”
On Dec. 20, Maurice Pearson received a telephone call from a Baltimore police officer. Pearson had been found. He was alive, though barely.
“They told me he was in the hospital and that he was in a coma,” Maurice Pearson recalled. “They told me he had been beaten real bad.”
Pearson’s white work truck, loaded with expensive tools, had been found near the rooming house. It was locked, but several expensive tools had been stolen, Maurice Pearson said.
For two months now, friends and family have kept a constant vigil at Pearson’s bedside. He has undergone surgery to reduce the swelling in his brain. He was treated for a bedsore that caused an infection. Doctors told relatives that he had suffered brain damage so severe that it was unlikely that he would ever regain consciousness, let alone the ability to walk, talk or function in any significant way.
His family has decided to keep him on life support—he has a tube to help him breathe, but his heart beats on its own. But they have also signed a do not resuscitate order if something should happen, Maurice Pearson said.
Both Maurice and Edie Pearson said they have not heard much from police in recent weeks. They hope the case remains a priority.
“He’s a good man. Anybody who knows him would tell you that,” he said of his brother. “Somebody beat him and took him away from his wife and family. There are a lot of people who love him. He didn’t deserve that.”
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Baltimore Police Department’s Central Division detectives’ office at 410-396-2240, 2241 or 2242.