New records detail how police discovered the corpse of Eliza Fletcher, 34, who was taken while jogging early Friday morning in Memphis.
38-year-old ex-convict Cleotha Abston has been accused with her kidnapping and murder.
According to WHBQ-TV, citing a police affidavit, Fletcher’s corpse was discovered on Monday after law enforcement officers investigating the area spotted automobile tracks in a patch of tall grass.
BREAKING: A body discovered in Memphis has been identified as abducted school teacher Eliza Fletcher, authorities say. https://t.co/BNd9K0Ot8R
— ABC News (@ABC) September 6, 2022
WHBQ reported that when an officer approached the scene, the stink of decomposition was obvious.
Fletcher’s body was found near to a set of stairs leading to an empty home.
A abandoned garbage bag was discovered near the residence where Cleotha Abston and his brother Mario had gone. Inside the garbage bag, investigators discovered what seemed to be the identical purple running shorts worn by Fletcher when she was last seen, according to WHBQ.
Friday about 5:48 p.m., WREG-TV surveillance footage captured Abston’s car in the neighborhood.
The footage depicts Abston exiting the SUV and opening the GMC Terrain’s trunk. When he enters an apartment, it looks like he takes something from the SUV.
Abston exits the SUV and then spends almost one hour cleaning the passenger side. According to witnesses, he was washing the SUV.
According to the New York Post, the timestamp of the video showing Abston washing his car closely corresponds to the period of time when witnesses said that Abston was acting oddly when visiting his brother.
April Jackson, 30, who saw the police effort to collect Fletcher’s corpse, was moved by the crime.
“That could have been anybody out jogging that morning, a student, anyone,” she said, according to the U.K. Daily Mail.
During the initial search to learn what happened to Fletcher, police obtained surveillance video showing a black GMC Terrain passing Fletcher, according to CNN.
The #dumpster outside the home investigators say #CleothaAbston went to hours after abducting #ElizaFletcher is being towed away.
Affidavit: Abston came to his brother’s apartment to wash his clothes in the sink & clean the interior of his SUV. pic.twitter.com/bH8wQ9PIY2
— Pixie ✨🧚🏻♀️☀️ (@PixiePi13720126) September 4, 2022
The video showed a man getting out of the SUV. The man eventually forced Fletcher into the passenger’s seat, the affidavit said. The SUV was parked in a parking lot for about four minutes before driving away, the affidavit said.
Abston, who had served almost 20 years in prison on a kidnapping charge before being released in 2020, has been charged with first-degree murder and first-degree murder in perpetration of kidnapping.