Man Charged in Abduction of Missing Memphis Jogger, Police Say
Memphis Police Department
MEMPHIS, TN — A man has been arrested in connection with the abduction of a Memphis woman who never returned from her early morning jog, police said.
PHOTO: Cleotha Abston, 38 of Memphis, Tenn. (Memphis Police Department)
The Memphis Police Department announced via Twitter early Sunday that 38-year-old Cleotha Abston has been charged with especially aggravated kidnapping and tampering with evidence.
Police said they detained Abston on Saturday evening after he was found inside an SUV that authorities were searching for in connection with the abduction. A public information officer told ABC News that they could not share where the vehicle of interest was located at this time.
A second individual, identified as 36-year-old Mario Abston, who is currently not believed to be linked to the abduction, was also arrested on drug and firearm charges, according to police.
PHOTO: Memphis police said Eliza Fletcher was abducted while running on Sept. 2, 2022. (Memphis Police Department)
Police said Eliza Fletcher, 34, remains missing and that they, along with their local and federal partners, continue to search for her. The investigation into her abduction is "active and ongoing," police said.
Fletcher was last seen jogging in the area of Central Avenue and Zach Curlin Street in midtown Memphis, near the University of Memphis campus in southwest Tennessee, on Friday morning at approximately 4:20 a.m. local time, before she was approached by an unknown person and forced into a dark-colored GMC Terrain, according to police. The SUV -- which authorities named a vehicle of interest -- took off, traveling westbound on Central Avenue, police said.
Fletcher was wearing a pink jogging top and purple running shorts at the time of her abduction. She has brown hair and green eyes, weighs 137 pounds, and is 5 feet, 6 inches tall, according to police.
St. Mary's Episcopal School in Memphis said in a statement on social media that Fletcher is a "beloved" junior kindergarten teacher at the all-girls prep school.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said it is assisting the Memphis Police Department in the search for Fletcher.
Fletcher's family released a video statement through the Memphis Police Department on Saturday, pleading for her safe return.
"We want to start by thanking everyone for their prayers and outpouring of support," Fletcher's uncle, Mike Keeney, said in the video while surrounded by members of their family, including Fletcher's parents, brother, and husband.
"Liza has touched the hearts of many people and it shows," he added.
The family urged anyone with information on the case to contact authorities. They are offering a $50,000 reward for information that leads to Fletcher's safe return. "More than anything, we want to see Liza returned home safely,"
Keeney said. "We believe someone knows what happened and can help."
Anyone with information on Fletcher's whereabouts is asked to call the Memphis Police Department at either 901-528-2274 or 901-545-2677, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-TBI-FIND, or dial 911.
ABC News' abcnews.go.com