Friends react to MB pediatrician's murder

Friends and family of a Myrtle Beach pediatrician are expressing shock at her murder. The body of Dr. Franchesca Brown was found last Wednesday in the Kansas City area, where she had been attending a medical conference earlier this month.

Police say she was last seen in the company of a man who is now charged with her murder.

Brown was a Myrtle Beach native and valedictorian of the class of 1990 at Myrtle Beach High School.

After graduating from Duke University, she became a pediatrician and worked in several locations before returning to Horry County, to serve uninsured patients at Health Care Partners, a community clinic in Conway.

Longtime friends say that career choice shows her dedication to the less fortunate.

"It wasn't about the money, but it was about being a blessing to those and having a voice for those who had no voice for themselves. She truly cared, genuinely cared about people in our community," said Cookie Canty-Goings, who was Brown's guidance counselor in high school.

Brown's body was found in a wooded area near an Overland Park, Kansas hotel last Wednesday.

Overland Park police say their investigation led them to issue a warrant for John Meredith Hodges, believed to be from Virginia. He was Brown's occasional boyfriend, according to police.

Hodges had fled to Colombia, South America, where police say he was captured by Colombian authorities this week.

Friends back home in Myrtle Beach were in shock when they heard what happened to Brown.

"For someone as beautiful as she was and as nice as she was, to hear that she was murdered, it was just one of those things where you just can't believe it. I still can't believe it," said friend Reggie Austin.

Tonya Young-Chestnut was a classmate of Brown's and her children were Brown's patients.

"She's gonna be greatly missed and she's been a blessing here on earth," Young-Chestnut said.

Though Brown's body was discovered last week, police in Overland Park say they held off on revealing any information about the case until now, fearing that if Hodges found out they were looking for him he might try to escape to another country that did not have extradition to the US. Hodges is expected to be returned to Kansas this week.