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MEMPHIS, Tennessee — The man accused of kidnapping and murdering Memphis teacher Eliza Fletcher is not revealing any information regarding his alleged crimes, despite several murder-related charges for the young mother’s death, according to officials and records.
Officials announced earlier in the day on Tuesday that they “didn’t get much information” from the suspect, 38-year-old Cleotha Abston-Henderson.
As of Tuesday, Abston-Henderson had been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree murder and kidnapping-related murder, among other counts that included aggravated kidnapping and tampering/fabrication of evidence.
Abston-Henderson was known to drive a GMC Terrain that matched the description of the vehicle used in Friday morning’s kidnapping of 34-year-old Fletcher.
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The young mother of two was jogging near the University of Memphis around 4:30 a.m. Friday when she was abducted. The “violent” kidnapping was captured on video and reportedly showed the suspect “waiting for, then rushing to the victim and then forcing the victim into the vehicle,” police documents say.
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Surveillance footage shows a black GMC property “passing by and then waiting for the victim to run past,” according to an affidavit from the Memphis Police Department. “A man exited the black GMC grounds, aggressively ran toward the victim, then forced victim Eliza Fletcher into the passenger side of the vehicle…there appeared to have been a struggle.”
The affidavit later adds, “The vehicle then stood in the parking lot with the victim in it for about four minutes before driving off.”
Investigators used TBEN extracted from a pair of Champion sandals found at the scene to identify Abston-Henderson as a person of interest. They were later able to trace his cell phone to the site of Fletcher’s kidnapping around the time of the attack.
Just hours later, Cleotha Abston-Henderson reportedly showed up at his brother’s house, where a woman saw him “cleaning the interior of the GMC property with floor cleaner and acting strangely,” the affidavit said.
His brother also told police that he saw Abston-Henderson cleaning the inside of his car, and both witnesses saw him “wash his clothes in the sink of the house,” the document continues.
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On Saturday, agents of the US Marshals Service detained Abston-Henderson at his Waterstone Oak Way home, where investigators located the GMC property “backwards into a parking lot in the parking lot” of the address.
But Abston-Henderson wouldn’t give the investigators any information about Fletcher’s whereabouts.
The young woman’s remains were eventually discovered less than half a mile away, behind a vacant home in Victor St. 1666, officials said.
Officials have said it was too early to determine the location and method of Fletcher’s death. A police spokesman declined to comment on TBEN News Digital when asked about any meaning or connection between Abston-Henderson and the vacant building near where Fletcher was found.
Records show that Abston-Henderson has lived in Tennessee for decades, if not all of his life. He is currently being housed in a Shelby County jail awaiting his appearance on Wednesday morning.
Abston-Henderson is so far being held on $510,000 bail, although the amount is expected to change when he’s arraigned Wednesday on the most serious charges — those are the counts linked to Fletcher’s murder.
But Friday’s attack was not Abston-Henderson’s first foray into the criminal justice system — or kidnapping charges, records show.
ELIZA Fletcher missing
Abston was charged with kidnapping and violent theft in May 2000, while he was still considered a minor, for forcing a prominent local lawyer named Kemper Durand into the trunk of his vehicle.
Officials confirmed he was 16 when he took Durand to an ATM and ordered him to withdraw money. Durand was able to escape to safety. Abston-Henderson has reportedly pleaded guilty.
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Records show that he served 24 years in the Tennessee Department of Correction system, with a sentence ending in November 2020.
He would boast additional charges from his childhood, including aggravated assault — with and without a weapon — theft and rape, TBEN 13 reported.
The Memphis police affidavit describes how Abston-Henderson worked for a cleaning service prior to his arrest on Saturday. The owner of the company confirmed to police that she employed the murder suspect. She also gave investigators his mobile number and confirmed that he was known to be the driver of the GMC Terrain.
Deputy Attorney General Steve Mulroy said on Tuesday that investigators had “no reason to think this was anything other than an isolated attack by a stranger.” He did not disclose a possible motive.
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Fletcher’s family released a statement asking the public and the media to allow them “time to grieve in privacy at this painful time without outside interference”.
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“We are heartbroken and devastated by this senseless loss. Liza was such a joy to so many – her family, friends, colleagues, students, parents, members of her Second Presbyterian Church congregation and everyone who knew her,” the statement continued. declaration. . “Now is the time to remember and celebrate how special she was and to support those who cared so much about her. We appreciate all the expressions of love and concern we have received. We are deeply grateful to local, state and federal law enforcement officers for their tireless efforts to find Liza and bring justice to the person responsible for this heinous crime.”