Suspect in doctor's death found dead in jail cell

 

Johnson County authorities say a man charged in the death of a South Carolina pediatrician died in his jail cell.

Master Deputy Tom Erickson says 45-year-old John Meredith Hodges was found unresponsive in the cell on Monday. This occurred about noon.

Efforts to resuscitate him failed. Erickson says the death is being investigated as a suicide but released no other details.

Hodges was charged with first-degree murder in the death of 39-year-old Franchesca D. Brown, of Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Brown's body was found last September near an Overland Park hotel. She was in the city to attend a medical conference.

Police say Hodges and Brown had an off-and-on relationship. Hodges told detectives that he strangled Brown during an argument inside her hotel room. Authorities said he dumped her body in a field near her hotel.

Brown was a beloved doctor in South Carolina. Hodges was brought back to Kansas after he fled to South America.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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