MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The Memphis Police Department (MPD) confirms that the body found in South Memphis Monday night is 34-year-old Eliza Fletcher.
Suspect Cleotha Abston now faces additional charges of first-degree murder and first-degree murder in the commission of a kidnapping, the MPD said.
In his first court appearance, Cleotha Abston told the judge he couldn’t afford to post his $500,000 bond and couldn’t afford a lawyer.
Authorities discovered a body during the search for Fletcher, a mother and teacher from Memphis who police say was abducted while jogging near the University of Memphis on September 2, sources said. .
The body of the deceased was found in an area near Victor Street and Person Avenue in South Memphis around 5 p.m.
Police have not confirmed the cause of death.
Abston is due in court on Tuesday morning.
PHOTOS: Body found in search for Eliza Fletcher, police say
We moved to Victor Street, where the police are concentrated near the Chestnut Ave intersection. I counted at least a dozen police cars on this stretch of road and all side streets are now closed. Still less than a kilometer from #CleothaAbston brother’s address. #ElizaFletcher pic.twitter.com/Y6s8OKK7Px
— Kayla Solomon (@KSolomonReports) September 5, 2022
The body was discovered within walking distance of apartments in Longview Gardens, the location where Fletcher’s alleged kidnapper, Cleotha Abston, 38, was reportedly seen cleaning a GMC Terrain hours after the mother was abducted of two children and the teacher.
Authorities said it was the same GMC Terrain used to kidnap Fletcher in the Central Avenue area and Zach Curlin.
Abston was arrested two days after Fletcher’s September 4 kidnapping and charged with kidnapping Fletcher, although Memphis police say Abston refused to give them his location.
RELATED: New charges laid against man accused of kidnapping Memphis mother near UdeM
According to authorities, sandals were found near Fletcher’s water bottle and cellphone after he was abducted. The DNA on those sandals matched Abston and Abston was seen wearing them the night before Fletcher was kidnapped, police say.
An arrest affidavit of Abston also claims his cell phone was in the Central Avenue and Zach Curlin area where Fletcher was abducted, around the same time that the mother-of-two and schoolteacher of St. Mary’s were kidnapped.
MPD has cordoned off part of Orleans Street at Longview Gardens Apartments. This is where MPD says Cleotha Abston cleaned up her SUV after allegedly kidnapping Eliza Fletcher. @FOX13Memphis
—Dominique Dillon (@DominiqueD_TV) September 5, 2022
RELATED: Vehicle found, man detained in kidnapping of his mother while jogging near the University of Memphis
Court records show Abston was previously charged with aggravated kidnapping in June 2000. He was sentenced to 24 years but was eligible for release after serving 85% of that sentence.
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