Body Found in Search for Missing Tennessee Mother of Two, Eliza Fletcher

Suspect Was Released in 2020 after Serving 20 Years for Prior Kidnapping.

by JW Hanna
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Fletcher was abducted during her morning jog last week in Memphis.
(Christine Tannous / The Commercial Appeal)

A body was found in Tennessee Monday amid a search for missing Memphis teacher Eliza Fletcher, cops said. 

The Memphis Police Department said that a “deceased party” was discovered at about 5 p.m. in the area where the woman went missing. The identification of the body was not immediately confirmed, nor was the cause of death.

Fletcher, 34, teacher and mother of two disappeared Friday after being violently abducted during her early-morning jog through a midtown Memphis neighborhood.

Fletcher is also the granddaughter of the late Joseph “Joe” Orgill III, who ran Orgill Inc., a $3.2 Billion hardware supply company that currently employs more than 5,500 people.

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(LEFT)Cleo a Abston has been arrested in connection to the abduction.
(Shelby County Sheriff’s Office via AP) (RIGHT) Eliza Fletcher (Memphis Police Department via AP)

Cleotha Abston was charged Sunday with especially aggravated kidnapping in her snatching. His motive for kidnapping Fletcher remains unclear.

Memphis police said Eliza Fletcher was abducted while running on Sept. 2, 2022.
(Memphis Police Department)

Tennessee authorities obtained surveillance footage of the kidnapping, which appeared to show Abston running “aggressively toward the victim, and then [forcing] the victim Eliza Fletcher into the passenger’s side of the vehicle,” according to a police affidavit which also said, “there appeared to be a struggle.”

Abston, who served 20 20 years behind bars for a previous kidnapping and was released in 2020, was arrested Saturday morning. Authorities said he refused to tell them Fletcher’s location. He was busted after a good Samaritan found sandals at the scene of the crime with DNA linking him to the alleged kidnapping.

Oddly Abston isn’t a “no bail” candidate and is being held on $500,000 bond.

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