The man detained by Memphis police as a suspect in the abduction of schoolteacher and heiress Eliza Fletcher is reportedly facing prosecution for murder. He is likely to be charged with murder in a west Tennessee courtroom on Wednesday morning. The arraignment for Cleotha Abston, who is accused of killing 34-year-old Eliza “Liza” Fletcher after taking her hostage in Memphis early on Friday, is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. CT.
Abston, who was detained over the weekend on the kidnapping charges, is now charged with first-degree murder when it was revealed that it was Fletcher’s body that was discovered close to a deserted Memphis duplex on Monday. Additionally, he was also slapped with charges of premeditated murder and murder.
Following an aggressive search that was started by Fletcher’s abduction and supported by surveillance footage that showed her being dragged into an SUV while out for a run early on Friday, Abston was apprehended close to his Memphis home. The neighborhood has been shaken by the news of her death. Fletcher was the granddaughter Joseph Orgill III, a billionaire in the hardware industry, who passed away in 2018.
After her disappearance, a massive manhunt was launched and police later discovered security footage that showed her being forced into a black GMC Terrain. The victim’s phone and a pair of shoes that were discovered at the scene of the kidnapping were also examined by police. According to the affidavit, DNA recovered on the shoes matched Abston’s DNA.
According to the affidavit, searchers discovered Fletcher’s body on Monday shortly after 5 p.m. based on information from an FBI team that examines cell phone data. The searchers concentrated their efforts on a region close to an intersection less than a mile from the brother’s house using the cell phone data.
The team noticed car tracks in the grass close to a driveway, smelled a decaying odor in the area, and eventually discovered a body on the property. A little further away, they found purple running shorts in a trash bag. Fletcher was last seen wearing them during her morning jog.
According to Shelby County jail records, Abston is also facing charges unrelated to Fletcher’s case, such as identity theft, theft of goods under $1,000, and fraudulent use/illegal possession of a credit or debit card under $1,000.
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