MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) The person charged with kidnapping a Tennessee woman jogging close to the University of Memphis the other day spent 20 years behind bars for a previous kidnapping.
U.S. Marshals arrested 38-year-old Cleotha Abston on Saturday after police detected his DNA on a set of sandals found close to where Eliza Fletcher was last seen, in accordance with an arrest affidavit. Police also linked the automobile they believe was found in the kidnapping to an individual at a residence where Abston was staying.
While Fletcher is not found, Memphis police said in the affidavit they believe she was seriously injured in the abduction, that was caught on surveillance video. Authorities have said Fletcher, 34, was jogging around 4 a.m. on Friday whenever a man approached her and forced her into an SUV following a brief struggle. Fletcher was reported missing when she didn’t return home that morning.
Abston previously kidnapped a prominent Memphis attorney in 2000, the Commercial Appeal reported. When he was just 16 yrs . old, Abston forced Kemper Durand in to the trunk of their own car at gunpoint. After a long time, Abston took Durand out and forced him to operate a vehicle to a Mapco gas station to withdraw money from an ATM. At the station, an armed Memphis Housing Authority guard walked in and Durand yelled for help. Abston ran away but was found and arrested. He pleaded guilty in 2001 to especially aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery, in accordance with court public records. He received a 24-year sentence.
Durand, in a victim impact statement, wrote, I was extremely lucky that I could escape from the custody of Cleotha Abston. It really is most probably that I’d have already been killed had I not escaped, the Commercial Appeal reported. Durand noted that it took over per year for Abston to sign the guilty plea, calling the refusal jailhouse braggadocio.
Durand also detailed Abstons lengthy history in the juvenile court system. In the years prior to the kidnapping, Abston have been charged with theft, aggravated assault, aggravated assault with a weapon, and rape, in accordance with Durands statement.
Durand died in 2013, seven years before Abston will be released in November 2020 at age 36. In both years since his release, there have been no more documented charges against Abston in Shelby County ahead of his Saturday arrest, the Commercial Appeal reported.
Online court public records usually do not show if Abston includes a lawyer who is able to touch upon his behalf. An arraignment has been set for Tuesday.
Fletcher may be the granddaughter of the late Joseph Orgill III, a Memphis hardware businessman and philanthropist. The household has released a video statement requesting assist in finding Fletcher and offered a $50,000 reward for information in the event.