The violent and mysterious kidnapping of Eliza Fletcher, an uneventful teacher

The violent and mysterious kidnapping of Eliza Fletcher, an uneventful teacher

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Eliza Fletcher, a 34-year-old American, was abducted while jogging in Memphis. A man has been arrested but his intentions remain to be explained.

His abduction was caught on CCTV cameras. At around 4am on Friday, 34-year-old Eliza Fletcher was forced into the passenger seat of a car. The vehicle was then filmed staying about four minutes in a parking lot in Memphis, United States, before fleeing, says CNN . Since then, the relatives of the young woman who was jogging at the time of the events, have had no news. One man, however, was arrested. Cleotha Abston, 38, has been charged with aggravated kidnapping and concealment of evidence, police said on Sunday morning.

The suspect was arrested after the car seen in the footage was located at his home. Additional surveillance footage, coupled with statements from Cleotha Abston’s employer, confirmed that the vehicle suspected of being involved in the kidnapping is owned by a woman associated with the suspect’s home address. DNA recovered from a pair of sandals found near where Eliza was abducted also allowed investigators to identify Cleotha Abston, whose bail was set at $500,000.

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Coming from a wealthy local family

But this kidnapping remains for the moment still a mystery. The suspect’s motives are yet to be discovered. Why was the young woman, a teacher with a tidy life, targeted? Her family is offering a $50,000 reward against anyone with information leading to their whereabouts. The 30-year-old, married and mother of two boys, comes from a very wealthy family in Tennessee. His grandfather, Joseph “Joe” Orgill III, ran the company that bears his name, Orgill Inc., which specialized in hardware supplies and currently employs more than 5,500 people. “Forbes” ranked Orgill, founded in 1847, as the 143rd largest private company in the country in 2021, generating $3.2 billion in revenue that year. His grandfather, who died in 2018, was also well known in the region for his philanthropy.

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Eliza, also identified as “Liza” and her husband, Richard “Richie” James Fletcher III, are members of the Second Presbyterian Church fellowship. George Robertson, the church’s senior pastor, portrayed her as “full of life”. He told the “Memphis Commercial Appeal “She and her husband Ritchie are both very active and great leaders in our congregation. They have two little boys who come to see me every week (…) She and her husband are inspirations because of their joie de vivre and their love for running and athletics”. A friend for his part declared to WREG “We want to find her. We don’t know what’s going on, but everyone is desperately looking for her and the police are on it. You can see there is a lot of activity, so if you know anything or saw anything early this morning, we just ask you to come forward.”

Cleotha Abston has been arrested for the kidnapping of Eliza Fletcher in the United States.

Cleotha Abston has been arrested for the kidnapping of Eliza Fletcher in the United States.

© AP/SIPA

The “New York Post indicates that the suspect is not unknown to justice. He has already, in 2001, pleaded guilty to kidnapping and aggravated theft and was sentenced to several prison terms. The images of the kidnapping show Cleotha Abston moving “aggressively towards the victim, then forcing her to get on the passenger side of the vehicle”, is it described in the investigation report, quoted by the American newspaper. “During removal, there appeared to be a struggle which caused noticeable damage to the rear passenger tail lamp area.” Police say Eliza Fletcher may have suffered serious injuries.

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