Police searching for a Memphis kindergarten teacher and heiress to a billion-dollar hardware fortune found a body in a creek Monday evening, according to a report.
The body was not immediately identified, but a reporter for local TV station WREG tweeted that the body was discovered near a location linked to the suspect, Cleotha Abston. Abston, 38, an ex-con who served time for kidnapping, was arrested Saturday in connection with the abduction of Eliza Fletcher.
“At 5:07 pm, officers in the 1600 block of Victor located a deceased party,” the Memphis Police Department tweeted Monday night. “The identity of this person and the cause of death is unconfirmed at this time. The investigation is ongoing.”
ON SCENE: The MPD Command Center has moved here near Marjorie & Person.
This is VERY close to where a dumpster was towed from outside #CleoAbston’s brother’s apartment yesterday morning.
— Bria Jones (@BriaJonesTV) September 5, 2022
Fletcher, whose abduction was captured on surveillance footage, was out for a dawn jog on Friday when the suspect allegedly grabbed her and forced her into a dark SUV. A married mother of two, Fletcher teaches at St. Mary’s Episcopal School in Memphis. She is the granddaughter of the late hardware wholesale tycoon Joseph Orgill III, founder of the privately-held Orgill Inc. The company has annual sales in excess of $3 billion.
Abston’s DNA was reportedly found on a pair of shoes known as “slides” left at the crime scene, near the University of Memphis. His GMC Terrain also matched the vehicle seen in surveillance video, and Abston was seen cleaning the interior of the vehicle and washing his clothes in a sink shortly after Fletcher’s abduction, according to witnesses, one of whom is Abston’s brother.
Monday’s search reportedly focused on an area not far from Abston’s brother’s home and a dumpster police towed away for evidence on Saturday.
A neighbor of Abston’s told The Daily Mail that Abston once asked her for sex and also propositioned other women in the apartment complex in which he lived.
“When women were around, he would sit in the truck and stare,” she said. “He was a weird pervert.”
On May 25, 2000, Abston kidnapped Kemper Durand, robbed him and forced him into the trunk of his car. After hours passed, he took him to an ATM, but Durand alerted a housing authority officer, prompting Abston to flee.
Abston is being held on $500,000 bond. Fletcher has brown hair and green eyes and is 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 137 pounds. She was last seen wearing a pink athletic top and purple running shorts.