Eliza Fletcher a pre-kindergarten teacher and married mother of two who was abducted and murdered in the city of Memphis, Tennessee, while jogging in the early morning hours of September 2, 2022, has been found dead on September 6. Memphis Police Chief C.J. Davis said, “Today is a very sad day in the City of Memphis.”
Eliza Fletcher Suspect (Cleotha Abston)
A suspect has since been named and is now also facing first-degree murder and other charges. On September 4, 2022, Memphis police announced the arrest of a suspect, Cleotha Abston, a felon. The affidavit by the Memphis police paints a terrifying scene in which Abston, 38, is accused of waiting for Fletcher to run by, then rushing her and forcing her into his vehicle. He was later seen cleaning the SUV. The suspect “declined to provide investigators with the location of the victim,” according to the affidavit.
Fletcher’s body was found behind a vacant apartment, as per an update by the Memphis police on September 6, 2022, ending a multi-day search that had gripped the city. The police chief said it was too early to determine the place and cause of death for Fletcher.
The affidavit describes the abduction as “violent,” with the suspect, “waiting for, then rushing toward the victim.” Authorities believe Fletcher “suffered serious injury” that probably left “evidence, e.g. blood, in the vehicle that the defendant cleaned.”
Who is Eliza Fletcher?
Fletcher goes by the name Liza Fletcher on Facebook, but authorities gave her name as Eliza Fletcher. She was from a prominent Memphis family, the granddaughter of a well-known philanthropist and business owner who died in 2018; Daily Beast referred to her as a “billionaire’s granddaughter.” She was listed as a teacher at St. Mary’s Episcopal School under the name Liza Fletcher. She was 38 years old at the time of her death.
Fletcher’s abduction occurred near the University of Memphis campus, Memphis police wrote in a news release. Her family held a news conference and spoke publicly about her abduction on September 3, 2022. Fletcher’s uncle read a statement, including from her husband, brother, and parents. Richie Fletcher and the other family members flanked the uncle.
“We want to start by thanking everyone for their prayers and outpouring of support. Liza has touched the hearts of many people and it shows. We want to thank the Memphis Police Department, Shelby County Sheriff’s Department, TBI, FBI, and all of the other law enforcement agencies who are working tirelessly to find Liza,” the uncle said.
Eliza Fletcher’s Husband (Richie Fletcher III)
Eliza’s husband, Richie Fletcher III, works as a dealership manager for a Memphis boat center and was previously a Coast Guard mechanic, as per his LinkedIn page. The Fletchers have two small children. His full name is Richard Fletcher III.
The family had offered a reward for any information that leads to her safe return. “We believe someone knows what happened and can help. If you have any information on this crime or Liza’s location, call the police at 901-545-COPS or CrimeStoppers, at 901-528-CASH.”