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Abducted Tennessee teacher's body found, suspect charged with murder

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Posted at 9:46 AM, Sep 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-06 14:57:02-04

Memphis Police confirmed a body found Monday night was the remains of Eliza Fletcher, who was last seen being forced into a vehicle while on an early-morning run last week.

Officials announced their findings Tuesday morning.

Police said a surveillance video shows Fletcher in a struggle with a person before being forced into an SUV around 4:30 a.m. on Friday.

Fletcher's husband contacted police when she didn't return from her run. Authorities said her phone and water bottle were found near the area where she was abducted.

Authorities said on Tuesday it was an "isolated" incident.

"In contrast to whatever baseless speculation you may have seen, we have no reason to think this was anything other than an isolated attack by a stranger," said Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy.

Over the weekend, Memphis Police said that 38-year-old Cleotha Abston was charged in connection to her abduction. He was held on a $500,000 bond. Murder charges were added on Tuesday.

According to CNN, police connected Abston to Fletcher's kidnapping after finding one of his sandals in the area where Fletcher was kidnapped. Abston's cell phone records also place him at the scene of the crime, according to an affidavit obtained by CNN.

The Commercial Appeal reported that Abston was previously convicted of abduction. He was released from prison in 2020.

Fletcher was a teacher at St. Mary’s Episcopal School in Memphis.