Multiple sources on Tuesday confirmed to FOX 13 that a body discovered late Monday on the steps of an abandoned home near Victor Street and Person Avenue was that of Eliza Fletcher, who was kidnapped early Friday while jogging. Cleotha Abston, 38, an ex-con who served time for kidnapping, was arrested Saturday in connection with the abduction. Abston, who is being held on $500,000 bond, is due to appear in court today.
“At 5:07 pm, officers in the 1600 block of Victor located a deceased party,” the Memphis Police Department tweeted Monday night.
ON SCENE: The MPD Command Center has moved here near Marjorie & Person.
This is VERY close to where a dumpster was towed from outside #CleoAbston’s brother’s apartment yesterday morning.
— Bria Jones (@BriaJonesTV) September 5, 2022
Fletcher, whose abduction was captured on surveillance footage, was out for a dawn jog on Friday when the suspect allegedly grabbed her and forced her into a dark SUV. A married mother of two, Fletcher taught at St. Mary’s Episcopal School in Memphis. She was the granddaughter of the late hardware wholesale tycoon Joseph Orgill III, founder of the privately-held Orgill Inc. The company has annual sales in excess of $3 billion.
Her body was found about seven miles from the crime scene, where police on Friday found her water bottle and smashed cell phone.
Abston’s DNA was reportedly found on a pair of shoes known as “slides” left at the crime scene, near the University of Memphis. His GMC Terrain also matched the vehicle seen in surveillance video, and Abston was seen cleaning the interior of the vehicle and washing his clothes in a sink shortly after Fletcher’s abduction, according to witnesses, one of whom is Abston’s brother.
Monday’s search reportedly focused on an area not far from Abston’s brother’s home and a dumpster police towed away for evidence on Saturday.
A neighbor of Abston’s told The Daily Mail that Abston once asked her for sex and also propositioned other women in the apartment complex in which he lived.
“When women were around, he would sit in the truck and stare,” she said. “He was a weird pervert.”
On May 25, 2000, Abston kidnapped Kemper Durand, robbed him and forced him into the trunk of his car. After hours passed, he took him to an ATM, but Durand alerted a housing authority officer, prompting Abston to flee.