RATHBUN LAKE — Police arrested a Missouri man wanted for statutory rape early Tuesday after a multi-county pursuit that ended in rural Appanoose County.

The Appanoose County Sheriff's Office said they arrested 39-year-old Joshua Davis Pearson, of Kirksville, Missouri, at 12:17 a.m. Tuesday after a vehicle and foot pursuit.

Pearson had an active warrant from Adair County, Missouri, for the charge of first-degree statutory rape and statutory sodomy. On Aug. 26, the Kirksville Police Department said they were searching for Pearson, who was accused of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl.

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office was pursuing a black GMC pickup southbound on Highway 5 when they alerted Appanoose County at about 11:47 p.m. Monday. Authorities originally attempted to stop the vehicle for a traffic violation.

The pursuit entered Appanoose County, and the driver led law enforcement on many gravel roads, highways and city streets in Centerville and Mystic, according to a press release from the Appanoose County Sheriff's Office.

The driver entered a rural bean field northeast of Mystic near Rathbun Lake where he fled on foot. Officers arrested him after a short foot chase.

In addition to the warrant from Missouri, Pearson is being held at the Appanoose County Sheriff's Office on charges of eluding, two counts of possession of controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and reckless driving. Additional charges are pending from Monroe County.

Sheriff's offices from Appanoose and Monroe County, and police departments from Albia and Centerville, were involved in the pursuit.

Pearson is a registered sex offender, with a prior conviction on a 2011 charge in Putnam County, Missouri.

Kyle Ocker is the editor of the Ottumwa Courier and the Oskaloosa Herald. He can be reached at kocker@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.

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Kyle Ocker is a Centerville native and award-winning multimedia journalist. Kyle is currently the president of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and vice president of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association.

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