Lois Pearson was known by the community of Weatherford, Texas to be fiercely self-reliant. She never married nor did she ever go out on dates. Instead she looked to the natural world surrounding her for her emotional support and if something was broken, she was the sort of woman who would fix it herself or find a way to work around it.
The only thing comparable to Lois’ self-reliance was her strong Christian faith. The elderly Texan had deep roots in the Baptist church and, aside from her monthly grocery runs, attending weekly sermons made up some of the little outside contact Lois had. When Lois’ car broke down, she thought nothing of making the 20-mile trek to and from church every Sunday.
What you are about to read is a horror story, but it is not the sheer terror of a story like Lois Pearsons’ that stands out. This is a story about the endurance and strength of the human spirit and, above all else, it is a story about forgiveness.
In 2001 Jeffrey Maxwell purchased a home just west of Lois’ property. Maxwell would often stop by and make friendly small talk with Lois and lend her a hand if she needed help. When Maxwell finally mustered up the nerve to ask Lois out on a date, she graciously declined. Lois always believed that God had a different plan for her, and unlike other women her age, she had no interest in marrying or having a family. Maxwell became more forward with his advances towards Lois and attempted to kiss her on one occasion. Lois told him not to come back.
Maxwell moved away in 2005, but before he left, seemingly for good, he decided to make one last stop. Maxwell pulled up to Lois’ house and showed her photos of a new home he had just purchased. The brief conversation seemed to have ended any animosity that may have existed between the neighbors and they both said their amicable goodbyes. What Lois didn’t know is that it would not be the last time she would see Jeffrey Maxwell.
Lois had been walking to her car to make her monthly grocery run on March 1, 2011 when a familiar face pulled in behind her. It was her old neighbor, Jeffrey Maxwell.
Maxwell smiled and stepped out of his car. He asked Lois about church and made other small talk as he slowly inched closer towards her. Lois sensed something strange about Maxwell and began to inch back towards a barbed wire fence surrounding her property. They both had stopped talking by the time they had reached the fence. Maxwell reached into his pocket and produced a small aerosol can of pepper spray.
Spraying Lois in the face with the pepper spray, Maxwell fought with all of his might to drag the woman inside her house. Lois clung tightly to the barbed wire fence, even as the barbs cut deep into her hands, but Maxwell overpowered her and dragged her into her home. In a moment of desperation Lois cried out, “I got AIDS!” in hopes that the threat would scare off her attacker, but her cries were of no use.
Maxwell shackled the 62-year-old’s hands and legs before beating her in the head with a rolling pin in her kitchen. As she waded through the pool of blood on her kitchen floor, Lois fought to stay conscious and refused to cooperate with Maxwell’s demands. Using an extension cord, Maxwell proceeded to tie up the shackled, blooded and bruised woman.
Even with the extent of her injuries and a lack of mobility due to the shackles and ligatures, Lois managed to break free. She was halfway down the road by the time Maxwell caught up with her and threw her into the back of his Chevy TrailBlazer at gunpoint.
Maxwell told Lois that he had been contracted to kill her, but added with a smirk that, “he woulda done this for free.” Lois was bound and gagged, but she still refused to go down without a fight. In the back of the truck’s cab, Lois would raise her legs each time she saw a passing motorists, hoping at least one would see her distress signal and phone for help.
No one had noticed, or at least no one had called the police. Without any other options she prayed that God would show mercy and save her. Maxwell heard her pleas as he pulled her out of the back of the truck at his Navarro County home and scoffed, “When I’m through with you, you won’t even believe in God.”
Inside of Maxwell’s garage he stripped the woman of her clothes and attached her wrists to a deer skinning hoist he had made. As she was suspended in the air, Maxwell proceeded to take a sex toy and penetrate Lois’ vaginally, then anally.
The elderly woman, who had never been naked in front of a man and had chosen to live out her years as a virgin, was savagely robbed of that purity by a sexual sadist, but the worst was far from over. Maxwell kept her chained to that deer skinning hoist as he continued to beat and sexually assault her for nearly two weeks.
During her time in captivity Maxwell would keep her gagged while chained to her bed or in a nearly airtight wooden box in the garage Lois referred to as her “coffin.” She realized that once Maxwell had her at his home her resistance only made matters worse and agreed to go along with his sadistic games, while praying that somehow help would be on the way.
Several days after Maxwell kidnapped her, Lois’ home caught fire. Investigators combed the rubble hoping to find the remains of Lois Pearson mixed in with the smoldering ash. When their search came up empty, Lois was reported missing and their search expanded to the surrounding countryside. Witnesses reported Maxwell’s TrailBlazer driving away from the scene and it wasn’t long before detectives were on his tail.
Maxwell forced Lois to write him a check for $500. When investigators spotted the cleared check on Lois’ bank ledger, they knew they had their man, but a judge could only allow a warrant to search Maxwell’s vehicle.
Police arrived at Maxwell’s home to ask him some more questions about the fire and produced a copy of the warrant to search his truck. As investigators interrogated Maxwell on Lois’ whereabouts, a heavily bruised Lois emerged from the house. Maxwell was immediately taken into custody and Lois was taken to the hospital, but insisted that first she had to retrieve her purse from inside the home.
Maxwell is now serving three life sentences. As for Lois, she says she is thankful that there is no chance of release for Maxwell, but does forgive him for the unspeakable cruelty she faced at his hands. “… If I don’t forgive him, I will go to hell. My religious faith teaches that, and I certainly don’t want to go to hell over not forgiving that man.”