People practice yoga in Gezi Park at Taksim Square in Istanbul June 7, 2013. Reuters

Tricia McCauley, an actress and yoga instructor in Washington, D.C., was found dead in her car Tuesday in the western part of the city after local police began searching for her when she didn't show up at her friend’s house for a Christmas dinner.

“Her classes were so loved, and she was so loved,” Jasmine Chehrazi, who owned the yoga studio McCauley worked at, told the Washington Post. “She just made it seem so natural; she was enlightened.”

Friends at the dinner party reportedly started worrying about McCauley once she didn't appear and stopped responding to their calls and text messages. McCauley, 46, was on her way to the Christmas dinner when she disappeared. Suspicions about her whereabouts heightened further when she didn't report to a flight she was scheduled to have been on Monday morning at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

Police arrested 29-year-old Adrian Duane Johnson in connection to her death Monday night at a CVS store, according to local reports Tuesday. The man forfeited McCauley’s car keys to law enforcement officers when confronted, and the car was located minutes later at a nearby location.

McCauley's 5-foot-4, 115-pound body was discovered to have been choked and beaten. Police ruled her death a homicide and said she had likely died of asphyxia. Tuesday. Interim D.C. police chief Peter Newsham said detectives did not know when or where McCauley was killed.

Johnson, who was from Marlboro, Maryland, was charged with first-degree felony murder, among other crimes including theft and assault. Detectives did not believe McCauley knew Johnson before the killing or how fatal their encounter came about, Newsham said.

McCauley had been known in the area to be gentle hearted. Aside from her acting career in which she once played the featured role of Anna Karenina in the play based off of Leo Tolstoy’s 1877 novel "Anna Karenina", McCauley was a licensed nutritionist, spiritual guide and free therapist. McCauley had also been a stand-in for Jenna Dewan in the 2006 dance movie "Step Up", which also starred Channing Tatum, according to People Magazine Tuesday.

“Everybody had a crush on her,” a friend of McCauley, Jason McCool, told the Washington Post. “I remember seeing her across the bar and thinking, ‘Who is that?’ And then I got to know her and realized her beauty was the least interesting thing about her.”

Johnson’s stepfather, Russell Dixon, told the Washington Post that Johnson had been homeless when the incident occurred and had a history of mental illness.