ELK GROVE, CA - Family members of college football player Brandon Brown are waiting for answers in the beating death of a man, they said, was beloved by nearly everyone he met.
Brown was found unconscious early Sunday morning on a street in the small Kansas town of McPherson, near Wichita. He later died from injuries suffered in a savage beating.
After playing at Elk Grove schools, Brown went on to play at several California community colleges before deciding to move to Kansas this fall to play for Tabor College in Hillsboro.
A 19-year-old man from Dallas, Texas is facing a murder charge for Brown's death. Investigators have not released any information on a possible motive.
"The family is at a loss at what could have gone so horribly wrong," said Brown's great aunt, Gretchen Garner-Easter in Elk Grove Tuesday night.
Family members had just returned from Kansas, where they said they were deeply touched by the reaction from residents and Brown's classmates.
"We were astonished by the love and the compassion that the fellow students had," Garner-Easter said. "We saw the team just visibly upset. And our hearts even went out to them."
Brown's mother Rhonda Holland said her son was a happy and loving man who had already made many friends in Kansas, including the manager at a Wendy's restaurant who came running out to talk to her.
"And she said, 'Wait a minute, I knew your son. He would come in about two o'clock in the morning after he'd been hanging out and I'd give him extra fries. I remember him, I know exactly who he was,'" Holland recalled.
The family said investigators from McPherson are staying in touch with the family and that they have faith the investigation will be thorough.
For now, they said they just want everyone to know that Brown was someone you would have wanted to know.
"He was just infectious. His laughter. He was good, just good people," said Holland.