Teacher Eliza Fletcher Confirmed Dead After Being Kidnapped During a Jog in Memphis

Memphis authorities confirmed that the body discovered Sept. 5 belongs to that of teacher Eliza Fletcher, who was abducted while on a run last week.

By Tamantha Gunn Sep 06, 2022 5:49 PMTags
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The search for missing kindergarten teacher Eliza Fletcher has come to a tragic conclusion.

The Memphis Police Department confirmed on Twitter Sept. 6 that the body discovered in Memphis on Sept. 5 belongs to Fletcher, who was kidnapped last week while on a jog. A cause and manner of death have not been released.

Fletcher, 34, was abducted while out on a run Sept. 2. Police said at the time that security video showed that a person approached the mom of two and forced her into a black GMC Terrain.

On Sept. 3, Memphis police announced that a "vehicle of interest" had been located and they had detained its driver for questioning. The same day, Fletcher's family members released a statement read by her uncle, Michael Keeney, and announced a $50,000 return for her safe return. 

"Liza has touched the hearts of many people," he said. "The family has met with police, and we have shared with them all the information we know. More than anything we want to see Liza returned home safely."

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Two days following her kidnapping, Memphis police announced that Cleotha Abston, 38, was charged with kidnapping and tampering with evidence in connection with her disappearance.

Following the identification of Fletcher's body, police said additional charges of first-degree murder and first-degree murder in the perpetration of kidnapping were added against Abston. 

Memphis Police Department

During an arraignment Sept. 6, Abston told the judge that he could not afford a lawyer and was appointed a public defender. A judge has set his bond for $510,000 and he is scheduled to appear in court Sept. 7 to be arraigned on the murder charges.

*Editor's Note: A previous version of this story referred to Eliza as a "billionaire heiress." The article has since been updated to reflect that while her grandfather's company amassed $3.2 billion in revenue last year, it doesn't reflect the late philanthropist's personal wealth.

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