Body of the kidnapped teacher was discovered.
During a Friday morning jog, a prominent Memphis businessman’s granddaughter was dragged into a car and taken hostage.
The body of a lady who was kidnapped and forced into a car while out for a morning jog close to the University of Memphis has been discovered by police in Tennessee.
Eliza Fletcher, 34, was a schoolteacher and the granddaughter of a well-known Memphis businessman, whose abduction frightened people all across the country, Memphis police said on Tuesday.
Authorities discovered Fletcher’s body on Monday after conducting several searches over the Labor Day weekend. She was taken captive at around 4 a.m. on Friday when a man approached her and, after a brief struggle, forced her into a sport utility vehicle, according to authorities.
When Fletcher, a mother of two small boys, failed to arrive home after her usual morning jog, she was reported missing.
On Tuesday, a man was arraigned on charges of aggravated kidnapping and tampering with evidence in the widely reported case. According to a sworn affidavit supporting his detention, Cleotha Abston, 38, was arrested on Saturday in connection with the kidnapping of Fletcher after police discovered his DNA on a pair of sandals discovered close to where she was last seen.
Abston will now additionally be charged with first-degree murder while committing a kidnapping, which under Tennessee law carries a life sentence or perhaps the death penalty, Memphis police said in a tweet on Tuesday.
Security footage from the area allegedly depicted a black GMC Terrain passing and then waiting for Fletcher to run by. The affidavit further stated that a guy then exited the vehicle, ran aggressively in the direction of Fletcher, and after a struggle, forced her into the passenger’s seat.
According to the affidavit, the automobile then sat in the parking lot with Fletcher inside for around four minutes before it left.
In the courthouse on Tuesday morning for Abston’s arraignment, which was his first appearance before a judge on charges of kidnapping, tampering with evidence, theft, identity theft, and fraudulent use of a credit card, were relatives of Fletcher and more than 20 media representatives.
Detention of Abston was mandated by the judge in lieu of a $510,000 bond. Abston said he couldn’t afford the bond or a lawyer, so Louis Montesi, the judge, assigned a public defender to act as his legal counsel.
Police have also connected a person at the house where Abston was living with the car they think was used in Fletcher’s abduction.
Memphis police reported on Sunday that Mario Abston, 36, the brother of Abston, had been charged with drug and gun violations but was not thought to be responsible for the kidnapping of Fletcher.
Police said late on Monday that a body had been discovered in a Memphis area, but they did not name the deceased or specify the cause of death.
When the body was discovered, there was a considerable police presence in the vicinity.
Throughout the long weekend, police used dogs, ATVs, and a helicopter to search a number of areas.
The location where Abston is alleged to have been spotted cleaning a GMC Terrain hours after Fletcher’s kidnapping was within walking distance of where her body was discovered, according to Memphis television station Fox13. Police received confirmation from Abston’s employer that he worked for a cleaning agency.
According to court documents analysed by the New York Times, Abston “refused to give investigators the victim’s whereabouts,” and “it is believed and substantiated by the facts and physical evidence that she sustained substantial harm,” according to the records.
The court documents said, “Furthermore, it is plausible and evident from witness accounts that these injuries left evidence, [such as] blood, in the vehicle that the defendant cleaned.
Fletcher is a descendant of the late Joseph Orgill III, a philanthropist and businessman in the Memphis hardware industry. The family had made a video appeal for assistance in locating Fletcher and offered a $50,000 prize for information leading to his whereabouts.
A well-known Memphis lawyer was previously abducted by Abston in 2000, according to the Commercial Appeal. At the age of 16, Abston held Kemper Durand at gunpoint and forced him into the trunk of Durand’s automobile. After some time, Abston escorted Durand outside and made him drive to a Mapco petrol station to use an ATM to withdraw cash.
Durand called for assistance as a Memphis Housing Authority guard carrying a rifle entered the gas station. Abston fled but was eventually apprehended.
According to court documents, he admitted guilt to aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery in 2001. He was given a sentence of 24 years.
Durand passed away in 2013, seven years before Abston’s November 2020 release at age 36. Prior to his arrest on Saturday, the Commercial Appeal stated that Abston had not been the subject of any other charges in the Memphis region in the two years since his parole.