Suspect charged in abduction of Memphis teacher, but she remains missing, police say
Sep 4, 2022, 12:33 PM | Updated: Sep 6, 2022, 11:13 am
(Memphis Police Department)
(CNN) — A man has been charged in connection with the disappearance of a Memphis teacher investigators believe was abducted while she was out for a jog Friday morning, police said.
Cleotha Abston, 38, was charged with especially aggravated kidnapping and tampering with evidence, according to a tweet from the Memphis Police Department posted early Sunday.
“Eliza Fletcher has not been located at this time. MPD Investigators and officers, along with our local and federal partners, continue searching for Mrs. Fletcher,” the post said.
Fletcher, 34, was jogging around 4:30 a.m. Friday when an unidentified person approached her, police have said. She was forced into a mid-sized dark SUV and taken from the scene, police said.
Abston was arrested Saturday after police found a vehicle they had been looking for in the case.
“The vehicle of interest has been located and a male who was occupying the vehicle has been detained,” police announced on Twitter.
Photos released by police show Fletcher running in the neighborhood near the University of Memphis. She was last seen wearing a pink jogging top and purple running shorts, police said in an alert.
Fletcher is White, 5 feet 6 inches tall, with brown hair and green eyes, police said. She weighs 137 pounds.
The teacher’s damaged phone was found near the scene where she is believed to have been abducted, CrimeStoppers Executive Director Buddy Chapman said, according to a news release obtained by CNN affiliate WHBQ.
This remains to be an active and ongoing investigation.
We continue to ask for assistance from the community. If anyone has any information concerning this investigation, they should call CrimeStoppers at 901-528-CASH.
— Memphis Police Dept (@MEM_PoliceDept) September 4, 2022
The family of the mother of two is offering a $50,000 reward through CrimeStoppers for information leading to an arrest in the case, WHBQ reported.
“We look forward to Eliza’s safe return and hope that this award will help police capture those who committed this crime,” her family said in a statement shared by Chapman.
In a post on Twitter, St. Mary’s Episcopal School said Fletcher is a junior kindergarten teacher.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said in a tweet it is assisting Memphis police in the investigation.
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