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Man charged with billionaire heiress’s murder arrested for unsolved rape and kidnapping of ANOTHER woman

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Memphis, TN: A career criminal who was accused of kidnapping and murdering Eliza Fletcher, a billionaire heiress, was slapped with another major crime after his DNA was connected to a rape reported nearly a year ago.

No surprise there.

Cloetha Abston, 38, of Memphis, Tennessee, was arrested last week in connection with the kidnapping and murder of Eliza Fletcher, whose body was found in the woods. After discovery of her remains, investigators arrested Abston less then a day later.

Abston makes court appearance. Screenshot image from Fox News YouTube channel.

According to the Newsbreak coverage of the Daily Mail, which stated:

“Abston was arrested on Tuesday – less than a day after detectives found Fletcher’s body – but was rebooked on Friday on new charges of aggravated rape, especially aggravated kidnapping and unlawful carrying of a weapon.”

It continued:

“Memphis Police said that the new charges stem from a rape kit sent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation in September 2021, when an unidentified woman filed the alleged crimes to police.”

corroborating evidence

A routine part of the rape kit includes a DNA sample. The kit was placed into police custody as evidence storage. When Abston was arrested, the system was flagged with a DNA hit in its database- leading to a new charge. He was subsequently rebooked.

The Memphis Police Department made a public statement that stated:

“The Memphis Police Department said in a statement: ‘An official CODIS (national DNA database) hit was not received until after the unfortunate event that occurred on September 2, 2022.”

The statement continued:

“Probable cause to make a physical arrest of any suspect did not exist until after the CODIS hit had been received.”

The Eliza Fletcher Murder Recap

Eliza Fletcher was a 34-year-old pre-kindergarten teacher at a Memphis Christian school. Fletcher comes from a wealthy family that built its fortune by founding a private hardware company and is a staple within the community.

Fletcher’s late grandfather, Joseph Orgill, built the hardware supply company, Orgill, Inc. It currently employs over 5,500 people and is valued at over 3 billion dollars.

Forbes listed Orgill, Inc. as the worlds 143rd largest private company in 2021.

Fletcher, an avid and competitive runner, was on a routine early morning jog on Friday, September 5th when she allegedly crossed paths with Abston driving a black SUV.

Police allege the Abston made a planned and calculated decision to kidnap her. Video footage showed a black SUV forcibly placing Fletcher inside the vehicle.

This is atypical with career criminals, which adds a disturbing layer to the heinous act. A majority of career criminals are impulsive and reactionary, committing crimes with little thought or planning to meet an immediate need- like quick cash, or sexual gratification.

Man charged with billionaire heiress's murder arrested for unsolved rape and kidnapping of ANOTHER woman one year ago
Image courtesy of the Memphis Police Department

A Fox News press release stated:

“Abston allegedly camped out in the area for about 24 minutes before Fletcher was taken. Police say surveillance cameras recorded him sprinting out of a GMC Terrain SUV and forcibly grabbing Fletcher around 5:30 a.m. In the ensuing struggle, he lost his Champion slides at the scene, and police found his DNA on them, according to an arrest affidavit.”

The Fox News column continued:

“Police found her body Monday behind a vacant home close to Abston’s brother’s apartment, where witnesses told investigators they saw him washing out the SUV with chemical cleaner.” 

Investigators were examining tire marks when they came across the unmistakable smell of human decay. They followed the scent which led them to the body of Fletcher.

Fletcher left behind her husband and two young sons.

Abston, a Career Criminal

Abston, who is no stranger to the criminal justice system, started at an early age.

According to the Newsbreak column, it stated:

“Now 38, he was just 11 when he first appeared in Shelby County Juvenile Court, charged with theft of property $500 or less. Court documents reveal that he was then convicted of raping a man when he was a teenager, and was placed in the custody of Shelby County’s Youth Services Bureau. He was detained 16 times from October 1995 to May 2000 for rape, aggravated assault and unlawful possession of a weapon.”

Man charged with billionaire heiress's murder arrested for unsolved rape and kidnapping of ANOTHER woman one year ago
Image screenshot from Fox News YouTube channel.

It continued:

“Two weeks after he was released from the youth services bureau to his mother’s care, he was transferred to adult court for the 2000 kidnapping lawyer Kemper Durand. Abston was only 16-years-old when he and an accomplice kidnapped Durand, threw him into his own trunk, and tried to force him to withdraw money at a gas station ATM.”

Tennessee is one of the few states that still uses the death penalty. Prosecutors have publicly stated that the death penalty is not ruled out at this point.

If this case doesn’t qualify for the death sentence, what would?

 

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