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Thursday 16 May, 2024
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Eliza Fletcher kidnapping Updates: Eliza was forced into black SUV in a “violent” manner

BY Anas Shah Sep 04, 2022. 07:27 pm

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According to police documents  Eliza Fletcher, a missing teacher from Memphis, was “violently” dragged into a black SUV, and a pair of sandals left at the site helped investigators find her alleged kidnapper.

Fletcher, 34, was stalked by Cleotha Abston, who allegedly waited for her to run past him, and was then kidnapped while out for her routine 4 a.m. exercise on Friday, according to the police affidavit. She had fled her home in the posh Central Gardens district for a peaceful community close to the University of Memphis.

According to court documents, Abston, 38, was convicted of abduction before; in 2001, he entered a guilty plea to exceptionally aggravated kidnapping and robbery. It is unknown how long he was detained and whether his sentences were served concurrently despite the fact that he was given prison terms of 24 years and 11 years, respectively.

The documents claimed that Tennessee authorities had obtained surveillance video of the kidnapping, in which Abston was seen allegedly running “aggressively toward the victim, and then forcing the victim Eliza Fletcher into the passenger’s side of the vehicle.”

The affidavit stated that “during the abduction, there appeared to be a fight” and noted “noticeable damage to the back-passenger taillight region” of the GMC Terrain.

According to police, after being forced into the black SUV, Fletcher—who is still missing—”sat in the parking lot with the victim inside for about four minutes before it drove off.”

It is unclear what happened during that time.

“As the abduction was violent with, as captured on video, the suspect waiting for, then rushing towards the victim, then forcing the victim into the car, where she was confined and removed and continues to be missing, it is believed and supported by the facts and physical evidence that she suffered serious injury,” the affidavit said.

“Further, it is probable and apparent from witness statements that these injuries left evidence of blood in the car the defendant cleaned,” it continued.

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According to the report, a pair of Champion slide shoes and Fletcher’s cell phone were discovered in the vicinity where the mother of two was abducted at 6:45 a.m. by good Samaritan Miles Fortas when he was riding his bicycle. Unaware of what had happened, Fortas handed the things to the Fletcher family, who later handed them over to law enforcement.

According to the affidavit, “DNA recovered on the shoes matched DNA for Cleotha Abston” that was already in a police database.

The day before the suspected kidnapping, Abston was seen in film, according to the authorities, wearing Champion slides. They added that his phone rang close to the scene of the incident on Friday.

Hours after police discovered Abston, she was accused on Sunday with exceptionally aggravated kidnapping and tampering with evidence.

“DNA found on the shoes matched DNA for Cleotha Abston” that was already in a police database, according to the affidavit.

The day before the suspected kidnapping, Abston was seen on video wearing Champion slides, according to the authorities. Additionally, they said that his phone rang close to the scene of the Friday kidnapping.

Hours after being discovered inside the black SUV that was being sought in connection with Fletcher’s abduction, Abston was charged on Sunday with exceptionally aggravated kidnapping and tampering with evidence.

The vehicle seemed to be the property of the cleaning company Abston worked for locally.

Officers discovered him standing in his home’s doorway, where they then detained him.

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“He attempted to flee but was taken into custody,” the police document said.

Before 8 a.m. on Friday, a witness claimed to have seen Abston “cleaning the interior of the GMC Terrain with floor cleaner” and reported “he was behaving oddly” to the police. Additionally, he was seen washing his clothes in a sink.

Police are still looking for Fletcher and are pleading with the public’s assistance in finding her. Abston refused to provide the police her location.

Abston previously admitted to kidnapping local attorney Kemper Durand on May 25, 2000, at around two in the morning, approaching him with a gun, and compelling him to get into the trunk of a car, according to local newspaper The Memphis Flyer at the time. When he abducted Durand and took him to an ATM, Abston was still a minor.

Fletcher, an elementary school teacher, is the great-granddaughter of a millionaire owner of a hardware company. With two small boys, she is married.

 

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