Eliza Fletcher abduction: Officials are working to identify a body recovered after the Memphis schoolteacher was abducted. The suspect is set to appear in court today

The body was found about 20 minutes from where Eliza “Liza” Fletcher, a 34-year-old mother of two, was seen on surveillance video being forced into a vehicle, officials said.

The identity of the body and cause of death are unconfirmed, police said on Twitter, adding an investigation is underway.

CNN has reached out to the coroner’s office for comment.

Fletcher was jogging around 4 a.m. in a neighborhood near the University of Memphis when authorities believe a man chased her and forced her into a black SUV.

According to surveillance footage obtained of the incident, the Black GMC Terrain initially drove past Fletcher. A man was then seen getting out of the SUV and “aggressively” running toward her before forcing her into the passenger seat of vehicle, according to the footage cited in an affidavit obtained by CNN.

The SUV remained in a parking lot for about four minutes after both people were inside and then began driving away, the affidavit states.

Over the weekend, police arrested and charged Cleotha Abston after they found the GMC Terrain in a parking lot near his residence, the affidavit shows. He was charged with especially aggravated kidnapping and tampering with evidence.

Abston, 38, is being held in the Shelby County Jail on $500,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday, according to jail records. It is unclear whether he has an attorney.

Fletcher was last seen wearing a pink jogging top and purple running shorts, police said. She is White, 5 feet 6 inches tall, with brown hair and green eyes, police said. She weighs 137 pounds.

She is a junior kindergarten teacher at St. Mary’s Episcopal School, according to a tweet from the school.
Memphis police officers search an area where a body was found Monday.

The evidence in the case

In the affidavit, investigators laid out evidence they said led them to arrest Abston.

Cell phone records show he was at the location where Fletcher was abducted during the time of her abduction Friday morning, according to the document.

Additionally, DNA found on a pair of sandals found near the scene helped investigators identify and arrest Abston, the affidavit said.

A suspect has been charged in the abduction of Eliza Fletcher, but the Memphis teacher remains missing, police say

Surveillance footage captured from a local theater the day before Fletcher’s disappearance showed Abston wearing what authorities believe are the same pair of Champion slide sandals found at the crime scene, according to the affidavit.

Also, the GMC SUV police believe Fletcher was abducted in was found near Abston’s residence, and had the same distinguishable damage and partial license plate information seen in the surveillance footage from Fletcher’s abduction, the affidavit said.

Other surveillance footage matched with statements from Abston’s employer confirmed the vehicle in question belongs to a woman associated with Abston’s home address, investigators said.

Police also gathered details from witnesses who said they encountered Abston after the abduction.

One witness said she saw Abston at his brother’s house after the kidnapping, according to the affidavit. The witness and his brother said Abston was behaving oddly as he cleaned the interior of his SUV and washed his clothes in the sink, the affidavit said.

Abston faced a kidnapping charge in previous case

Following Abston’s arrest Saturday, additional charges unrelated to Fletcher’s kidnapping were filed against him.

The charges include identity theft, theft of property $1000 or less and fraudulent use/illegal possession of a credit or debit card $1000 or less, Shelby County jail records show.

Memphis police find unidentified body 3 days after a teacher was violently abducted

The new charges are connected to a Thursday theft report filed by a woman who reported someone was using her CashApp card and Wisley Card at gas stations without her knowledge.

CNN has reached out to the Shelby County District Attorney and Memphis Police regarding the additional charges.

Court records also reveal that Abston previously served a prison sentenced for an aggravated kidnapping more than 20 years ago.

In November 2001, Abston pleaded guilty to the charge and was released in November 2020, court records show.

The Shelby County District Attorney’s Office told local outlet WREG that Abston was convicted in the kidnapping of a local attorney in 2000.

CNN’s Tina Burnside, Hannah Sarisohn, Anne Clifford and Jennifer Feldman contributed to this report.

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