A suspect was charged on Sunday in the abduction of Memphis, Tennessee, teacher Eliza Fletcher who disappeared Friday.
Officials charged 38-year-old Cleotha Abston with especially aggravated kidnapping and tampering with evidence after he was located inside the black SUV connected to the case, the New York Post reported.
BREAKING OVERNIGHT : Police have arrested a suspect in the kidnapping case of Memphis teacher Eliza Fletcher. Cleotha Abston, 38, has been charged with Especially Aggravated Kidnapping and Tampering with Evidence, Memphis Police announced early Sunday. pic.twitter.com/2E9r6Hcdvb
— Jordan James (@JordanJamesTV) September 4, 2022
Fletcher, a 34-year-old mother of two children, was enjoying her morning jog when she was pushed into a dark-colored GMC Terrain.
UPDATE: The individual who was detained has been officially charged in connection with the abduction of Eliza Fletcher. At this point in the investigation, Cleotha Abston, 38, has been charged with Especially Aggravated Kidnapping and Tampering with Evidence.
— Memphis Police Dept (@MEM_PoliceDept) September 4, 2022
Her grandfather previously started a $3 billion hardware business called Orgill Inc. and the family was offering a $50,000 reward to anyone with information that could bring her home.
Have you seen this woman or vehicle?
Eliza Fletcher was abducted this morning in midtown Memphis while running.
She was forced into a vehicle. There is no known direction of travel.
— Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (@TBInvestigation) September 2, 2022
Authorities with Memphis police have continued looking for the woman.
The suspect apparently pled guilty to crimes in 2000, Fox 13’s investigative reporter Dakarai Turner reported Sunday morning.
“Online records show Cleotha Abston plead guilty to one count each of especially aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery in 2000. He was sentence to 24 years in prison, making him eligible for release sometime within the last 6-12 months,” he wrote:
Online records show Cleotha Abston plead guilty to one count each of especially aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery in 2000.
— Dakarai Turner (@Dakarai_Turner) September 4, 2022
Meanwhile, another man not currently believed to have a connection to the recent incident also faced charges, the Post article said.
“Mario Abston, 36, was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture and sell fentanyl, possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture and sell heroin, and convicted felon in possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony,” the outlet said, adding the suspects were booked into the Shelby County Jail.
DNA collected from shoes at the scene identified Cleotha Abston as a suspect, according to reporter Bria Jones who added the man’s brother told investigators he acted “strange.”
“He was seen washing his clothes in the sink & cleaning the interior of his GMC Terrain,” Jones wrote in a social media post:
➡️ Police used DNA from shoes at the scene to identify Cleotha Abston as a suspect in #ElizaFletcher abduction
➡️ His brother told officers he acting “strange”
— Bria Jones (@BriaJonesTV) September 4, 2022
Fletcher’s uncle, Mike Keeney, said the family believes someone out there has more information regarding the case that could assist investigators:
“More than anything we want to see Liza returned home safely. The family has offered a reward for any information that leads to her safe return. We believe someone knows what happened and can help,” he told listeners.