Overland Park police announce suspect in slaying of pediatrician

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — In a news conference late Monday afternoon, Overland Park police announced that a suspect is in custody in connection with the murder of a doctor killed after attending a medical conference in the Kansas City area.

Dr. Franchesca D. Brown, 39, from Myrtle Beach, S.C., was found dead on September 12.

Police officers from the Overland Park Police Department went to check on her welfare on Sunday, Sept. 9, after her mother called police because she did not return home from the conference on Saturday as scheduled.

Investigators learned that Brown had not been seen since a meet-and-greet at the conference on Monday, Sept. 3, that she attended with a male companion.

On Sept. 12, detectives discovered Brown’s body in a wooded area close to the Hawthorne Suites Hotel. Her murder was kept quiet until police could catch a suspect who fled the country.

“We talked to the family about this,” said Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe.

Police say they identified John Meredith Hodges as a suspect during their investigation, but discovered he had flown to Colombia from KCI shortly after the murder.

Authorities issued a federal fugitive warrant and received assistance from the Drug Enforcement Agency and the FBI to locate Hodges in Colombia. Hodges was last seen with Brown on Sept. 3 at a meet-and-greet for the medical conference Brown was attending.

“They had an on-again-off-again relationship for approximately the past year,” said Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass. “There are some indications that she invited him to Kansas City while she was here and that he came from outside the country to come and meet her.”

Hodges faces a first degree murder charge as well as additional charges for using Brown’s identity and credit cards. He is expected to return to Johnson County in the next 48 hours.

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