Sep 4, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Suspect charged in kidnapping of Memphis jogger Eliza Fletcher

Memphis cityscape

Memphis, Tenn. Photo: Dukas/Christian Heeb/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Police have arrested a suspect in connection to the kidnapping of a woman who went missing in Memphis, Tennessee, last week.

The latest: In confirming the news on Twitter early Sunday morning, Memphis police noted that the woman, Eliza Fletcher, has not been located and the investigation into her whereabouts is ongoing.

Who is Eliza Fletcher?

Eliza Fletcher, 34, is a junior kindergarten teacher at St. Mary's Episcopal School in Memphis and a mother of two children.

  • She was last seen on a jog near the University of Memphis at 4:30am on Friday when she was approached by an "unknown individual" and reportedly forced into a dark SUV, according to a statement from Memphis Police.
  • Authorities described her as white, with brown hair and green eyes, and about 5 feet, 6 inches. She was last seen wearing a pink jogging top and purple running shorts, police said.
  • Fletcher's smashed cellphone and water bottle were later discovered in front of a home on the street where she was abducted, WMC-TV reported.

Who has been arrested?

The Memphis Police Department announced in a Twitter thread early Sunday that they had located the "vehicle of interest" in the case and detained the man who was in the car.

  • Cleotha Abston, 38, “has been charged with especially aggravated kidnapping and tampering with evidence,” in connection to Fletcher's abduction, Memphis Police said Sunday in a tweet.
  • A second man, Mario Abston, 36, was arrested during the investigation on drug and firearms charges but is not believed to be connected to Fletcher's kidnapping.
  • "This remains to be an active and ongoing investigation," police wrote.

Worth noting: The case of Gabby Petito last year garnered widespread news coverage but highlighted the ways in which coverage of other missing persons cases — particularly those involving people of color and LGBTQ people — can often be overlooked.

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