Updated July 26 at 7 p.m.
Georgia state Rep. Bobby Franklin, who courted controversy with legislation that would criminalize miscarriages and with comments criticizing tornado victims, was found dead in his Northeast Cobb home just before noon Tuesday.
Jenny Hodges, a close friend who considered Franklin to be like a brother, said in an email to Northeast Cobb Patch that another friend went to check on the legislator Tuesday morning and called police to break in.
The Cobb County Emergency Communications Center dispatched officers to Franklin’s house in the 4500 block of Cedar Knoll Drive for the welfare check, Cobb County police spokesman Officer Michael Bowman said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.
“Upon arrival the officers had to force entry into the residence, where they found a deceased male," Bowman said in the statement.
The dead man has been identified as Franklin, 56, a Cobb County Republican known for an extreme brand of conservatism.
No foul play is suspected in the death, Bowman said. The Cobb County Medical Examiner’s Office has the body.
Hodges speculated that Franklin suffered a massive heart attack.
"He was having extreme chest pains," she said.
Franklin helped design the current Georgia flag. He also introduced legislation such as H.B. 1: "Prenatal Murder," which would make it a crime for the female human body to end a pregnancy if an investigation team could not determine a cause for the pregnancy's termination. The bill stalled in the General Assembly.
Franklin sparked more anger in May when he said victims of this spring’s tornados to sustain them.
"He was probably one of the most misunderstood Georgia politicians. His hate mail came from all over the country," Hodges said. "But for the few of us who loved and understood him, he was really wonderful and a man of integrity."
Visit Northeast Cobb Patch for updates in the case.