Police believe missing Eliza Fletcher ‘suffered serious injury,’ suspect charged in her kidnapping

Police believe missing Eliza Fletcher ‘suffered serious injury’
Published: Sep. 4, 2022 at 6:30 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 5, 2022 at 5:25 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Memphis Police Department arrested a man in connection with the abduction of Eliza Fletcher.

Cleotha Abston, 38, was charged with especially aggravated kidnapping and tampering with/fabricating evidence early Saturday morning.

Fletcher, a 34-year-old teacher at St. Mary’s Episcopal School, went missing after a jog near the University of Memphis campus on Friday, Sept. 2, at 4:30 a.m.

Around 6:45 a.m., a man found the victim’s cellphone and Champion slide sandals lying in the street.

According to the affidavit, Abston’s DNA was found on the slides, and investigators discovered surveillance footage, from the Malco Theater on Germantown Parkway of Abston wearing the same slides a day before the abduction.

Police contacted the owner of the cleaning service they believed Abston worked for and the owner verified that Abston worked there and gave police his information.

Investigators used his cellphone records to determine that he was near 3876 Central Avenue during Fletcher’s abduction, said police.

Police interviewed a witness and stated that Abston went to his brother’s house around 10 a.m. Friday.

Police said the witness saw Abston cleaning the inside of the GMC Terrain with the floor cleaner and stated he was behaving oddly.

His brother also saw Abston washing his clothes in the sink of the house, and he was acting very strange, said police.

A U.S. Marshals task force went to the address on Saturday morning and saw the vehicle and Abston standing in the doorway. He attempted to flee but was captured, according to the affidavit.

Abston would not tell police where to find Fletcher, the affidavit said. Police said the physical evidence and facts of the case lead them to believe Fletcher “suffered serious injury.”

Abston’s bond is set at $500,000. He will appear in court on Sept. 6.

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