Police: Body of Missing Heiress, Teacher Eliza Fletcher Found — Suspect Charged with Murder

Eliza Fletcher, 34. (St. Mary's Episcopal School)
St. Mary's Episcopal School

The body of heiress and kindergarten teacher Eliza Fletcher, 34, was discovered on Tuesday morning, according to the Memphis Police Department. The recent discovery comes after Sunday’s arrest of a suspect in connection to the case whose charges have been upgraded to first-degree murder.

A body was discovered at 5:07 p.m. on Monday in the 1600 block of Victor, approximately 7.5 miles away from where she was abducted at the University of Memphis campus. Police confirmed Fletcher as the deceased victim at 6:49 a.m on Tuesday.

Police announced on Tuesday that Cleotha Abston, 38, has been charged with first-degree murder and first-degree murder in perpetration of kidnapping in addition to his kidnapping and tampering with evidence charges on Monday in connection with Fletcher’s abduction.

Abston was arrested on Sunday evening after police discovered a pair of Champion slide sandals within the vicinity of where Fletcher was abducted that had DNA matching the 38-year-old suspect, NBC News reported, citing the arrest affidavit. He was reportedly seen wearing them the night before the abduction.

During the investigation into Abston, his brother, Mario Abston, 36, was arrested and charged with drug and firearm offenses, according to police. However, he is not believed to have been involved in the investigation.

After his arrest, Abston did not reveal the location of the victim, Fox 13 Memphis reported via the affidavit.

Police say Fletcher was abducted on Friday morning at approximately 4:20 a.m. by an individual in a dark-colored SUV – a GMC Terrain – while she was jogging at the University of Memphis campus at 3800 Block of Central Avenue.

Police say that the 34-year-old female victim was approached by the suspect and forced into the vehicle.

According to the affidavit, Cleotha Abston was seen by witnesses allegedly cleaning a dark-colored GMC Terrain with floor cleaner hours after Fletcher had been abducted.

The 38-year-old is expected to appear in court on Tuesday.

Before her tragic death, Fletcher was married to her husband Richie and had two young children, according to the Daily Mail. Along with being a kindergarten teacher, she was the granddaughter of Joseph Orgill III, the founder of Orgill Inc., a billion-dollar hardware company.

You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.


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