Eliza Fletcher: Body Found Identified As That Of Missing Heiress

Tenessee Police have confirmed that a body found on Monday is that of missing heiress and alleged kidnap victim Eliza Fletcher.

Eliza Fletcher was abducted while out jogging on Friday
Eliza Fletcher was abducted while out jogging on Friday

Mother-of-two Eliza Fletcher, 34, was the granddaughter of a local billionaire and worked as a teacher.

She was abducted while out jogging near the University of Memphis early on Friday morning.

A 38-year-old man, Cleotha Abston - who has a previous conviction for kidnap has been charged with kidnapping and murdering Ms Fletcher.

Her grieving family issued a statement after her body was found, saying they were "heartbroken and devasted".

The statement said: "Liza was such a joy to so many - her family, friends, colleagues, students, parents, members of her Second Presbyterian Church congregation, and everyone who knew her. "Now it's time to remember and celebrate how special she was and to support those who cared so much for her."

Ms Fletcher was the granddaughter of the late Joseph Orgill III, a billionaire local hardware magnate and philanthropist. His company now employs more than 5,000 people and is reportedly worth over $3bn.

Ms Fletcher chose to work as a junior kindergarten teacher at St Mary's Episcopal School rather than work for the family business.

Cleotha Abston, photographed in 2017 by the Tennessee Department of Correction
Cleotha Abston, photographed in 2017 by the Tennessee Department of Correction

She was abducted at around 04.00 local time on Friday. Police documents show that CCTV footage captured a man approaching her before forcing her into a black SUV.

Her family reported her missing after she failed to return home on Friday after her run, they offered a £50,000 reward for information.

On Monday, the Memphis Police Department said that officers had found a body at around 17:07 local time - but stressed that no identification had been made.

On Tuesday, police revealed that the body "located yesterday in the 1600 block of Victor has been identified as Eliza Fletcher".

Police also confirmed that the body was discovered in the rear of a vacant duplex apartment.

Prior to the discovery of the body, Abston, who was arrested on Saturday, had been charged with tampering with evidence and aggravated kidnapping. He has now been charged with first-degree murder and first-degree murder in perpetration of kidnapping.

According to an arrest affidavit, Abston was arrested after his DNA was discovered on a pair of sandals found close to where Ms Fletcher was last seen.

Police also found a vehicle that matched CCTV footage of Ms Fletcher being forced into at a property he had been staying at.

When officers arrived at the property he attempted to flee but was quickly captured.

Abston previously served almost 20 years behind bars for kidnapping a Memphis attorney at gunpoint in 2000. He was released in late 2020.

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