NamUs

Charley Project



Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
• Missing Since: December 27, 2000 from Grand Bay, Alabama
• Classification: Endangered Missing
• Date Of Birth: December 23, 1947
• Age: 53 years old
• Height and Weight: 6'1, 165 pounds
• Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Gray hair, blue eyes. Pearson may have a mustache or beard. He may wear eyeglasses.
• Medical Conditions: Pearson suffers from bipolar disorder and may require medical attention.

Details of Disappearance
Pearson was last seen at his residence in Grand Bay, Alabama on December 27, 2000. The previous day, the postal carrier was having a hard time finding an address to deliver a package, and Pearson went to a neighbor's home to help. Because the neighbors were away on vacation, Pearson told the postal worker to just leave the box on the porch. The package contained ten pounds of marijuana and it was delivered to the wrong address; it was actually addressed to someone down the street. Pearson called the post office to report it. When the police came to the neighbors' home to pick up the marijuana, they discovered a significant amount was missing from the package. It turned out the neighbors had sold it. They were angry with Pearson for reporting the incident. Pearson told his daughter he was afraid for his safety.

The next day, Pearson called the police to reported a burglary at his home. He disappeared before the officer could arrive at his house to take the report, and has never been heard from again. His car was found abandoned several days later, parked in the woods near Henderson Camp Road.

Pearson had just gotten a promotion at his job at Ingalls Shipbuilding before his disappearance. He left behind a daughter, who lived out of state and was recovering from surgery at the time of his disappearance. He is described as a reliable person of habit and it's uncharacteristic of him to leave without warning. Authorities haven't determined whether his disappearance was related to the marijuana or the burglary, but foul play is suspected in his disappearance; it remains unsolved.

Cold Case: Grand Bay Man Vanished 17 Years Ago

Burch says those neighbors, a father and son, were then, and are now, the only suspects.

“It haunts me because I know who’s responsible but we don’t have enough yet,” lamented Burch. “And I emphasize ‘yet.’ Because to the day I retire I won’t stop looking into this case.”

The younger of suspects took a polygraph in 2009 about Pearson’s disappearance. His test was “inconclusive.” The elder suspect, Burch says, has never cooperated. And Stephen Pearson’s daughter Julie, who now lives out of the state, has lost hope that anyone one will ever be arrested.
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Julie knows the Baumans are the main suspects, but she doesn’t know if they’re the only ones that need to be looked into.

“My dad and I know the Baumans very well. Where my dad’s car was found was where I would go hiking with (the younger Bauman),” she said. “My biggest question is why would the Baumans want to kill my father. He wasn’t the only one who knew they had the drugs by then.”

For the nearly 13 years since Pearson was last seen, Julie has considered a number of scenarios. Could the people who sent the drugs have come back for the package? Her father signed for them and she believes the people who burglarized Pearson’s home were looking for the drugs and/or helping stage the scene where his car was found.
There were incidents too numerous to count that just didn’t add up she said — cars following Julie and her husband, the involvement of federal government agencies that usually have nothing to do with missing persons, the suggestion by law enforcement to never reveal information about her and her family’s whereabouts, etc.

“There is so much surrounding my dad’s disappearance that makes absolutely no sense. The only thing I know is I don’t know the truth behind what happened to my daddy,” Julie said. “I try to get information, but I run into dead ends. I just don’t believe it is so straight forward.” Years later Julie still thinks about her dad and his disappearance daily.