Eliza Fletcher: How 4-day search for Memphis teacher killed in violent kidnapping led investigators to her body


Shortly after investigators in Memphis, Tennessee, found a body on Monday that was later identified as missing teacher Eliza “Lisa” Fry, officials said in a newly released affidavit Toh, they found a pair of purple running shorts that had been discarded in a nearby garbage bag.

The shorts matched the description Fletcher was wearing when she was last seen, when her husband reported her missing after not coming home from a Friday morning jog.

When investigators were searching for the 34-year-old woman on Monday, they found vehicle tracks in tall grass near a vacant duplex and smelled rotting, then found on the ground, the affidavit said. found the body of an unresponsive woman. Officials announced Tuesday that the body was Fletcher’s. She was found about 7.5 miles from where surveillance video showed her abduction.

Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said in a news conference Tuesday: “Losing someone so young and so important is a tragedy in itself, but it happened in this way, coupled with the Senseless violence is unthinkable.”

Authorities have described the teacher’s death as violent, but questions still surround where and how she was killed.

Fletcher’s community is mourning the junior kindergarten teacher and mother of two as the investigation unfolds.

“We are heartbroken by the loss of our beloved teacher, colleague and friend Liza Fletcher,” St. Mary’s Anglican School said in a Facebook post. “Our faculty and staff started the day at church this morning. We lit candles in honor of Lisa, who was a beacon to our community,” the post said.


Fletcher, the granddaughter of hardware mogul Joseph Ogier III, died in 2018 at the age of 80. Tennessee-based Orgill has annual sales of $3 billion, according to the company.

Fletcher was jogging in a block near the University of Memphis around 4 a.m. Friday when a man chased her and forced her into an SUV, authorities said.

During a tense search and investigation over the weekend, investigators focused on Cleotha Abston, who is now charged with the kidnapping and murder of Fletcher.

Abston, 38, was arrested on Saturday after investigators found evidence including surveillance footage of the kidnapping, court documents show.

“We have no reason to think this was just an isolated attack by a stranger,” Mulroy said Tuesday.

Abston was charged with particularly aggravated kidnapping and evidence tampering after his arrest.

On Tuesday, prosecutors added first-degree murder, attempted murder and murder in the course of kidnapping. Abston will be arraigned on Wednesday on the charges.

In Abston’s first court appearance on Tuesday, a judge appointed a public defender to represent him after he told the court he had no lawyer and no money to pay his bond.

Abston was initially charged with a $510,000 bond.

He also faces charges unrelated to the Fletcher case, including identity theft, theft of property worth $1,000 or less, and fraudulent use/illegal possession of a credit or debit card worth $1,000 or less, Shelby County Jail records show.

The allegations relate to a theft report filed last week by a woman who said her Cash App and Wisely cards were being used at a gas station without her knowledge.

CNN has reached out to the Shelby County District Attorney and Memphis police regarding the theft allegations.

Law enforcement officers work at the scene where Eliza Fletcher was kidnapped on Friday.

In the search for Fletcher, police obtained surveillance video showing the teacher jogging across black GMC terrain around 4 a.m., according to an affidavit filed Sunday.

The video shows a man getting out of the SUV and running towards her “aggressively” before forcing her to sit in the passenger seat of the vehicle, the affidavit said.

After the two entered the vehicle, the SUV stayed in the parking lot for about four minutes before driving away, the affidavit said.

Police also performed DNA analysis of a pair of sandals found at the kidnapping scene, which showed that the DNA on the shoes matched Abston’s, the affidavit shows.

Surveillance footage taken from a local theater the day before Fletcher disappeared showed Abston wearing the same pair of Champion sandals that authorities believe were found at the crime scene, according to the affidavit.

Investigators also checked Abston’s cell phone records, which showed he was near the scene of Fletcher’s abduction, according to the affidavit.

In addition to physical evidence, the affidavit said police interviewed two people who told them Abston had behaved strangely after being kidnapped.

After the kidnapping, Abston allegedly went to his brother’s home, where he cleaned the interior of the SUV and washed his clothes in the sink, the testimony said.

Source link