Witnesses told police that Cleotha Abston was ‘behaving oddly’ in the area after Eliza Fletcher’s abduction, according to an affidavit
Eliza Fletcher is from a prominent Memphis family, the granddaughter of a well-known philanthropist and business owner. (Liza Fletcher/Instagram)
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Police are searching various locations throughout Memphis on Sunday in relation to the disappearance of Eliza Fletcher, a billionaire heiress and mother of two who was abducted on Friday morning while out for a morning run.
Cleotha Abston, 38, was arrested on Saturday in connection with Fletcher’s disappearance. Law enforcement officers set up a mobile command center and were using K-9s to search near a home where Abston could be seen washing clothes and cleaning the interior of his vehicle on Friday.
Surveillance video reviewed by police captured the violent abduction, showing a man fighting with the 34-year-old kindergarten teacher and forcing her into a GMC Terrain.
Police said they located that GMC terrain at Abston’s residence on Saturday and took him into custody after he attempted to flee.
Two witnesses told police that they saw Abston “acting very strange” and “behaving oddly” as he washed his clothes in a sink and cleaned the interior of the GMC Terrain at his brother’s home near Pine Hill Community Center, according to an affidavit.
Police wrote that it was “probable and apparent” that Fletcher’s injuries “left evidence, e.g., blood, in the vehicle that the Defendant cleaned.”
Fox News Digital observed the Memphis Police Department and Shelby County Sheriff’s Office using ATVs, K-9s, and horses at a park near that community center on Sunday.
Police also cordoned off the Lakeview apartment complex where Abston’s brother lives.
After Abston was taken into custody, he “declined to provide investigators with the location of the victim,” according to the affidavit. He was charged with especially aggravated kidnapping and tampering with evidence.
Police originally identified Abston as a suspect because he allegedly left a pair of sandals behind at the scene of the abduction.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation confirmed that Abston’s DNA was found on the sandals and surveillance video showed him wearing them the day before the kidnapping.
More than two decades ago, Abston was charged with aggravated robbery and kidnapping for forcing prominent Memphis attorney Kemper Durand into the trunk of his car in May 2000.
Fletcher’s grandfather was billionaire Joseph Orgill III, founder of Memphis-based Orgill Hardware, which now has more than 11,000 retail stores throughout the United States.
Anyone with information about the Fletcher’s disappearance can call Crime Stoppers at 901-528-CASH (2274).
Adam Sabes is a writer for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter @asabes10.