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Eliza Fletcher’s Alleged Killer Is Now Charged with Committing a 2021 Kidnapping and Rape

Booking photo of Cleotha Abston (left), picture of Eliza Fletcher

Booking photo of Cleotha Abston (left), picture of Eliza Fletcher

The man accused of murdering a Memphis-are teacher is now charged in a separate crime. Jail records in Shelby County, Tennessee, now show that Cleotha Abston, 38, faces a count each of aggravated rape, especially aggravated kidnapping, and unlawful carrying or possession of a weapon for a crime dated Sept. 21, 2021.

A sexual assault report had been taken that day and submitted to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation two days later, according to WREG. Authorities said the DNA match returned on Sept. 5, 2022, the same day Eliza Fletcher‘s body was found in the South Memphis neighborhood.

Law enforcement have said that Abston kidnapped Fletcher while she was out on a run the morning of Sept. 2.

The New York Timesciting court documents, reported that video surveillance shows that a person exited the SUV as Fletcher went by it, exited the vehicle, ran toward her, and forced her into the passenger’s side.

“There appeared to be a struggle,” court documents reportedly said.

Abston previously spent the great erpart of two decades in prison for kidnapping attorney Kemper Durand, forcing him into a vehicle trunk and making him get money from an ATM. Abston was released from prison in 2018.

Charges in Fletcher’s death are first-degree murder, tampering with/fabricating evidence, and especially aggravated kidnapping. He is also separately accused of stealing a woman’s wallet as a member of a cleaning company, and he used at least one of her debit cards.

Other recent reports have Abston’s last name as Henderson. He asked the judge at his arraignment on Thursday to refer to him as Henderson, according to WMC. Shelby County jail records still give his last name as Abston.

Marisa Sarnoff contributed to this report.

[Abston booking photo via Shelby County Jail; image of Fletcher via Memphis Police Department]

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