Cleotha Abston, 38, pleaded guilty in November 2001 to one charge of aggravated kidnapping. He was released in November 2020, according to court records.
Abston is now facing the same charges of kidnapping and tampering with evidence, especially aggravated for the kidnapping of Eliza “Liza” Fletcher.
Fletcher, 34, a mother of two, was jogging around 4am on Friday when a black GMC Terrain SUV passed by her. A man was then seen getting out of her car and running “aggressively” towards Fletcher, pushing her into the passenger side of the SUV. According to footage cited in an affidavit obtained by CNN, the two climbed into her SUV as it drove off in a parking lot for about four minutes.
According to the affidavit, the police found “physical evidence showing that she was seriously injured.”
Abston was arrested Saturday after police found GMC Terrain in a parking lot near his residence, according to an affidavit. The vehicle had the same identifiable damage and partial license plate identification seen in surveillance footage of Fletcher’s abduction.
According to the affidavit, Abston attempted to flee after U.S. Marshals found him nearby.
The suspect is being held at Shelby County Jail on $500,000 bail and is due to appear in court on Tuesday, according to prison records. It is unknown whether he has a lawyer.
According to the affidavit, DNA recovered from a sandal found near where authorities believe Fletcher was kidnapped helped investigators identify and arrest Abston.
Surveillance footage taken from a local theater the day before Fletcher went missing showed Abston wearing what authorities believed were the same Champion slide sandals found at the crime scene, according to the affidavit. It was shown that
Additional surveillance footage, consistent with a statement from Abston’s employer, confirmed that the vehicle in question belonged to a woman associated with Abston’s home address.
Cell phone records also show Abston was at the scene when Fletcher was kidnapped on Friday morning, according to the affidavit.
Witnesses said they saw Abston at his brother’s house after he was kidnapped, according to the affidavit. Witnesses and his brother said Abston was behaving strangely while cleaning the interior of his SUV and washing clothes in the sink.
Photos released by police show Fletcher running in a neighborhood near the University of Memphis. He was last seen wearing pink jogging tops and purple running shorts, police said in a warning.
Fletcher is Caucasian, 5 feet 6 inches tall, with brown hair and green eyes. Her weight is 137 pounds.
Her family is offering a $50,000 reward through CrimeStoppers for information leading to an arrest in the case, WHBQ reports.
“We look forward to Eliza’s safe return and hope this award will help police arrest those who committed this crime,” her family said in a statement shared by Chapman. rice field.