The cause of death for Eliza Fletcher has been revealed.
As you may recall, the 34-year-old kindergarten teacher was reported missing earlier this month when she never returned home from her usual morning run in Memphis, Tennessee. Police quickly determined that Eliza had been kidnapped when security footage appeared to show a woman matching her description being “forced into an SUV” by an unknown man. Her abduction soon sparked a frantic three-day search to find the millionaire heiress, and she was later found dead behind an apartment building in the city on Labor Day. So, so sad…
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Following the tragedy, police arrested a 38-year-old man named Cleotha Abston was arrested and charged him with first-degree murder, perpetration of kidnapping, aggravated kidnapping, and tampering with evidence in connection to Eliza’s death. Investigators were able to connect Abston to the kidnapping after his Champion sandals and Eliza’s cell phone was discovered at the scene. When police sent the shoes for DNA testing, they matched the suspect who had already been in the system. Abston was believed to have been cleaning a GMC Terrain nearby hours before the kidnapping. And in an affidavit, police also noted that two witnesses, including his brother Mario Abston, had seen him “washing his clothes in the sink of the house” after the abduction. He also told cops Cleotha was acting “strange” at the time.
Now, more details surrounding her brutal death have been released weeks later. According to The Sun on Thursday, Eliza passed away from a gunshot wound to the back of the head. The autopsy further revealed she suffered blunt force trauma to her right leg. A toxicology report also disclosed that fentanyl was in her system at the time of her death. Just awful.
Her family has yet to speak out about the latest development in the case. However, Eliza’s loved ones previously expressed how “heartbroken” they were over her “senseless loss” in a press conference, saying:
“We are heartbroken and devastated by this senseless loss. Liza was such a joy to so many — her family, friends, colleagues, students, parents, members of her Second Presbyterian Church congregation, and everyone who knew her. Now it’s time to remember and celebrate how special she was and to support those who cared so much for her.”
“We appreciate all the expressions of love and concern we have received. We are grateful beyond measure to local, state and federal law enforcement for their tireless efforts to find Liza and to bring justice to the person responsible for this horrible crime. We hope that everyone, including media representatives, understand the need for the family to grieve in privacy without outside intrusion during this painful time.”
Our hearts continue to go out to Eliza’s family. Hopefully, they will get some justice for her murder soon.
[Image via Memphis Police Department]