Police have announced they arrested a man for kidnapping a missing teacher. Victim Eliza “Liza” Fletcher, 34, is still missing, according to cops in Memphis, Tennessee. Meanwhile, defendant Cleotha Abston, 38, remains at the Shelby County Jail on a count each of especially aggravated kidnapping and tampering with evidence.
Officers have said Fletcher was last seen Friday at 4:30 a.m. in the 3800 block of Central Avenue, near the University of Memphis campus. She was forced into a dark-colored GMC Terrain SUV, they said. Before naming Abston, police said they found the vehicle of interest.
Cops did not suggest a motive or clarify whether he and Fletcher knew each other.
“Eliza Fletcher has not been located at this time,” cops said. “MPD Investigators and officers, along with our local and federal partners, continue searching for Mrs. Fletcher.”
Officers also noted they arrested Mario Abston, 36, during the investigation, but they said they do not currently think he had anything to do with Fletcher’s abduction. He faces drug charges, such as possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture and sell fentanyl. He also remains at the Shelby County Jail.
“We continue to ask for assistance from the community,” police said. “If anyone has any information concerning this investigation, they should call CrimeStoppers at 901-528-CASH.”
Fletcher is reportedly an heiress, granddaughter of the late businessman Joseph “Joe” Orgill III. The local St. Mary’s Episcopal School knew her as a teacher for junior kindergarten. She is the mother of two sons.
In cooperation with authorities, we are asking for your help locating our beloved JK Teacher Liza Fletcher.
If you have seen Liza or have information about her location, call MPD 901-545-COPS(2677). We join the Fletcher and Wellford families in praying for Liza’s safe return. pic.twitter.com/Hf30H6tkn3
— St. Mary’s Episcopal School (@StMarysMemphis) September 2, 2022
Memphis Police have arrested 38yo Cleotha Abston in connection with the abduction of Eliza Fletcher.
Early this AM Abston was charged with “Especially Aggrivaged Kidnapping” and tampering with evidence.
Fletcher, a mom of two little boys, has not been found. pic.twitter.com/os7woqmSHP
— Alexandria Hoff (@AlexandriaHoff) September 4, 2022
Fletcher’s uncle Michael Keeney, read a statement on behalf of the family, offering a reward for any information leading to her safe return. He asked that anyone with information call police at (901) 545-COPS, or CrimeStoppers at (901) 528-CASH.
He thanked everyone for their prayers and support, and he thanked law enforcement for their efforts.
“Liza has touched the hearts of many people, and it shows,” he said.
Family of Eliza Fletcher releases statement thanking community and law enforcement. Investigators say they have located a vehicle of interest in her disappearance and a man occupying the SUV has been detained. Eliza Fletcher has not been located. @3onyourside pic.twitter.com/7UMAik74BZ
— Shay Arthur (@ShayA_WREG3) September 3, 2022
Officers described Fletcher as white, with brown hair, and green eyes. She stands 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 137 pounds. She was last seen wearing a pink jogging top and purple running shorts.
[Abston booking photo via Shelby County Jail; image of Fletcher via Memphis Police Department]
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