The suspect's DNA was traced on the sandals found on the street from where Eliza Fletcher went missing which led to
Eliza Fletcher, a mother of two, went on a morning jog just like every other day on September 2, 2022. But she never made it back. A search for her ended with the police finding her body on Tuesday, as per an announcement by the Memphis Police Department. The statement revealed that the body was located and identified as 34-year-old Eliza Fletcher. The cause of her death has not yet been announced.
Until Monday, a body found during the search in the same area remained unidentified and the investigation continued. Fletcher was last seen at Central Avenue and Zach Curlin Street where she usually runs near the University of Memphis around 4:20 a.m, per New York Post.
According to surveillance footage accessed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, an unknown man "ran aggressively" toward Fletcher while she was running on Central Avenue in Memphis at 4:30 a.m., and forced her into a dark-colored SUV, per WREG. "During this abduction, there appeared to be a struggle," the affidavit stated. Fletcher's body has been found approximately seven miles from the spot from where she was abducted. Fletcher's kidnapper Cleotha Abston, 38, was also seen cleaning a GMC Terrain within walking distance from this spot a few hours after the abduction, according to PEOPLE.
Deepest sympathies to Eliza Fletcher’s family and friends and to her extended family at St. Mary’s, Second Presbyterian Church and all throughout Memphis.— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) September 6, 2022
A bicyclist reported to police that, while riding along Central Avenue on Friday at 6:45 a.m., he saw a pair of Champion slide sandals laying in the street. DNA from the sandals later led police to the suspect. Fletcher's phone was also found by the cyclist, abandoned on the street in the area she was last seen.
Memphis Police department arrested Abston who has additionally been charged with first-degree murder and first-degree murder in perpetration of kidnapping, police announced. He was also charged with Especially Aggravated Kidnapping and Tampering with Evidence, as per a press release. Abston is being held without bond and court records do not reflect an attorney authorized to speak on his behalf. He has not yet entered pleas to the charges he faces.
We are heartbroken at the loss of our beloved teacher, colleague, and friend Liza Fletcher. Our hearts are with the Fletcher, Orgill, and Wellford families. pic.twitter.com/41cePIFgos— St. Mary's Episcopal School (@StMarysMemphis) September 6, 2022
Fletcher's family had offered a $50,000 reward for information pointing to her whereabouts. According to The Daily Beast, as the granddaughter of Joseph Orgill III, she was the heiress of the Memphis-based hardware distributor Orgill Inc. During the search, her family had released a video expressing gratitude for the community's support in finding her. "We want to start by thanking everyone for their prayers and outpouring of support. Liza has touched the hearts of many people and it shows," Fletcher's uncle, Mike Keeney, said in the video. "More than anything, we want to see Liza returned home safely," Keeney said. "We believe someone knows what happened and can help."
Tonight a memorial grows near where police say #ElizaFletcher was abducted. One visitor telling me she’s “an incredible person.” The latest on the search for this missing mother of 2 ahead @NBCNightlyNews. pic.twitter.com/ftvJIxqUZh— Jesse Kirsch (@JesseKirschNews) September 5, 2022
Fletcher was a junior kindergarten teacher at St. Mary's Episcopal School in Memphis. The school described her as a "beloved" teacher in a social media post. The faculty and staff lit candles in the teacher's memory, according to their statement. "Liza embodied the song that we sing every week in Early Childhood chapel, 'This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine,' " the statement read.
God bless her soul. Video showing Eliza Fletcher singing to students at St. Mary's Episcopal School. Clearly she was a very kind and loving soul #lizafletcher #ElizaFletcher #Memphis pic.twitter.com/eTZ9QQZ0s8— That Guy Shane (@ProfanityNewz) September 6, 2022
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