Body of Missing Teacher Found In Memphis

Eliza Fletcher

A body was found behind a vacant duplex, and police said it was confirmed to be Eliza Fletcher, 34, who was abducted late last week.

Cleotha Abston, 38, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and first-degree murder in perpetration of kidnapping.

Abston appeared before a judge on Tuesday on charges of kidnapping, theft, identity theft, tampering with evidence, and fraudulent use of a credit card on Tuesday. He was issued a $510,000 bond. However, the suspect could not afford a bond or an attorney.

Memphis police arrested Abston after finding his DNA on a pair of sandals near where Fletcher was last seen. Police also found the vehicle they believed was used in the kidnapping.

Fletcher, a school teacher, is the granddaughter of the late Joseph Orgill III, a Memphis hardware businessman, and philanthropist. The family offered a $50,000 reward for information in the case.

It is unclear whether she had been a long-term target of the suspect or just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In a statement Tuesday, the family said they were “grateful beyond measure” to authorities for finding Fletcher and for arresting a suspect.

“We are heartbroken and devastated by this senseless loss,” the family said. “Liza was a such a joy to so many … Now it’s time to remember and celebrate how special she was and to support those who cared so much for her.”

The suspect, Cleotha Abston, kidnapped a prominent Memphis attorney in 2000 when he was 16 years old and was sentenced to 24 years in prison. He was released early in 2020.

The district attorney said repeat violent offenders deserve a strong response.

For more on this story, please consider these sources:

  1. Body found in Memphis identified as abducted jogger Eliza Fletcher  CBS News
  2. Eliza Fletcher abduction: police discover body, identity and cause of death unconfirmed  LiveNOW from FOX
  3. Man charged in jogger abduction kidnapped attorney in 2000  Yahoo News
  4. What we know about kidnapping suspect Cleotha Abston  WREG NewsChannel 3
  5. Abducted jogger mystery  ABC News
John Nightbridge is a veteran reporter, researcher, and economic policy major from UCLA. Passionate about world issues and potential ways to solve them is a significant focus of his work. Writing freelance and reading the news are John's passions at work. Outside of work, it's all about sky diving, surfing, and stock market modeling.