A pair of purple running shorts were found in a garbage bag near the body of kidnapped schoolteacher Eliza “Liza” Fletcher, according to a recently published affidavit.
When Fletcher’s husband reported her missing after an early morning workout, she was wearing the same shorts.
As investigators searched for the 34-year-old Monday, they discovered vehicle tracks in high grass outside a vacant duplex and smelled rot before finding a body on the ground. Fletcher’s body was identified Tuesday. Surveillance footage suggests she was abducted 7.5 miles away.
“To lose someone so young and vital is a tragedy, but to do so in a senseless act of violence is incomprehensible,” said Shelby District Attorney Steve Mulroy.
The teacher’s horrific death raises doubts regarding the manner in which she died.
As the inquiry continues, Fletcher’s neighborhood mourns the mother of two.
St. Mary’s Episcopal School wrote on Facebook that it was “heartbroken” over Fletcher’s death. “Our staff began the day in church. We lit candles for Liza, a community leader, “posted.
Joseph Orgill III’s granddaughter Fletcher died in 2018 at age 80. Orgill’s annual revenues are $3 billion.
Authorities say Fletcher was jogging near the College of Memphis when a man pursued her and pushed her into an SUV.
Cleotha Abston is suspected of kidnapping and killing Fletcher after a weekend search and inquiry.
Abston, 38, was detained Saturday after authorities found kidnapping evidence, including surveillance footage.
“We have no basis to believe this was anything more than a random strike,” Mulroy added.
The suspect faces additional charges
Abston was arrested for kidnapping and tampering with evidence.
Prosecutors added first-degree murder, premeditated murder, and kidnapping charges Tuesday. Wednesday is Abston’s arraignment.
Abston informed the court he didn’t have an attorney or money to post bond, so a judge ordered a public defender to represent him.
Abston’s bond was $510,000.
Identity theft, theft of property under $1,000, and fraudulent use or illegal possession of a credit or debit card under $1,000 are unconnected to Fletcher’s case.
A woman complained last week that someone used her Cash App card and Wisely Card at petrol stations without her knowledge.
CNN contacted the Shelby County DA and Memphis police about the theft allegations.
Witnesses say the suspect was acting oddly after the abduction
During the search for Fletcher, authorities found security video showing a black GMC Terrain passing her at approximately 4 a.m.
The video shows a man “aggressively” running toward her and forcing her into the passenger seat, the complaint says.
The SUV sat in a parking lot for four minutes after both occupants got in, the document says.
The DNA found at the abduction site matched Abston’s DNA, the affidavit said.
Surveillance footage from a local theatre the day before Fletcher’s abduction showed Abston wearing the same pair of sandals found at the crime scene.
Cell phone records showed Abston was near the abduction area when Fletcher was taken, according to the affidavit.
The document said police interviewed two people who believed Abston behaved abnormally following the kidnapping, the document said.
After the kidnapping, Abston is said to have cleaned the SUV and washed his clothes at his brother’s house.
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