Eliza Fletcher, a member of Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tenn., was abducted while jogging on Friday morning, September 2. In a statement issued by Memphis police, the 34-year-old mother of two was approached by a man in a dark SUV who forced her into the vehicle after a brief struggle. Fletcher was running on the University of Memphis campus, about a block from the church.
“I know the family well from my time serving as Assistant Pastor at Second,” said Michael Davis, EPC Assistant Stated Clerk. “Please pray for Eliza’s safety, and for her husband, Richie, and their two children. May God bring peace to all today and lead law enforcement as they work the situation. Pray also for the entire Second Pres family as they wait for answers.”
The photos of the suspect’s vehicle. pic.twitter.com/7GB4RRb98t
— Memphis Police Dept (@MEM_PoliceDept) September 2, 2022
More information is available at www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/local/2022/09/02/jogger-kidnapped-near-university-memphis/7971738001/
September 4 update:
On Sunday morning, the Memphis Police Department released the affidavit in support of arresting Cleotha Abston, 38, in Fletcher’s disappearance.
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
According to the affidavit:
- Fletcher was last seen at approximately 4:20 a.m. on Friday, September 2, jogging near the University of Memphis campus about one block from Second Presbyterian Church.
- A dark-colored GMC Terrain SUV was seen 24 minutes before the abduction surveillance footage.
- A surveillance camera captured a man “violently and quickly” approach Fletcher, then forced her into the passenger side of a dark-colored GMC Terrain with damage to the right rear tail light.
- “A male exited the black GMC Terrain, ran aggressively toward the victim, and then forced the victim Eliza Fletcher into the passenger’s side of the vehicle,” the affidavit read. “During this abduction, there appeared to be a struggle.”
- Investigators found a pair of slide sandals at the scene. Police said DNA from the footwear matched Abston, based on a sample taken from a previous conviction. Other surveillance video showed Abston wearing similar sandals days earlier.
- Abston’s cellphone placed him near the abduction site around the time Fletcher disappeared.
- U.S. Marshals found the GMC Terrain on Saturday at an apartment complex in southeast Memphis.
- Police ended an interview with Abston still not knowing where Fletcher is.
- Fletcher is believed to have been seriously injured during her abduction.
- Abston spent just more than 22 years in state prison after being convicted of kidnapping an attorney. He was released from prison in November 2020.
Additional information is available at www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/local/2022/09/04/1-charged-eliza-fletchers-disappearance-no-sign-teacher/7992733001/
As of September 4, Fletcher is still missing.
This story will be updated as information emerges.