Eliza Fletcher's Family Breaks Silence After Discovery of Her Body


The family of a woman who was kidnapped and killed in Memphis has spoken out about her tragic death.

Police confirmed they had identified Fletcher’s body Sept. 6, the New York Post reported. In a statement, her family mourned the loss of a “special” woman.

“We are heartbroken and devastated by this senseless loss,” the statement said. “Liza was such a joy to so many — her family, friends, colleagues, students, parents, members of her Second Presbyterian Church congregation and everyone who knew her.

“Now it’s time to remember and celebrate how special she was and to support those who cared so much for her.”

Police arrested 38-year-old Cleotha Abston on Sept. 4 and charged him with especially aggravated kidnapping and tampering with evidence, WREG-TV reported.

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Officers had detained him a day prior after identifying an SUV connected with the case, and they said he refused to give information about Fletcher’s whereabouts.

Abston had previously pled guilty to especially aggravated kidnapping in a separate case in 2000, and he was sentenced to 24 years in prison. He was released in November 2020 after serving most of his sentence.

On Sept. 5, police located a body near the apartment of 36-year-old Mario Abston, Cleotha’s brother. They did not immediately identify the body.

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The next morning, police confirmed the body was Fletcher’s, WREG-TV reported in a separate article.

Abston was then charged with two additional crimes: first-degree murder and murder in perpetration of kidnapping.

In Tennessee, the possible punishments for first-degree murder are death, life in prison without parole or life in prison with the possibility of parole, according to law website Justia.

When Abston stands trial, he could potentially be faced with the death penalty.

Neighbors who lived in the same apartment as Cleotha Abston’s brother, Mario, painted a disturbing picture of Cleotha.

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“When women were around, he would sit in the truck and stare,” one woman told the U.K.’s Daily Mail. “He was a weird pervert.”

“He watched me come on the porch, then came up the stairs behind me and said, ‘I will give you $100 to f**k,'” she recalled of an incident last winter.

The woman said Abston routinely offered women $100 to have sex with him, and she knew of at least two other women he had propositioned.

Another neighbor identified as Latoya, 35, said Abston asked both her and her 20-year-old niece to have sex with him earlier this year.

“He kept waving me over to him and was like, ‘I’ve got $100,'” Latoya said. “He tried to catch my niece too, tried to get her to come into the apartment with him.

“As far as I know, nobody here have sex with him. He creepy, he really creepy.”

Prior to her death, Fletcher was a beloved junior kindergarten teacher at St. Mary’s Episcopal School in Memphis, WREG reported.

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Grant is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He has five years of writing experience with various outlets and enjoys covering politics and sports.
Grant is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor's degree in journalism. He has five years of writing experience with various outlets and enjoys covering politics and sports.