The family of murdered kindergarten teacher Eliza Fletcher is mourning her tragic and senseless death.
As we’ve been reporting, the 34-year-old was found dead in the city of Memphis, Tennessee on Monday — three days after she was first reported missing after never coming back from an early-morning jog. Local cops quickly determined that security camera footage from the time of her disappearance appeared to show a woman matching Fletcher’s description being accosted by an unknown man and “forced into an SUV.” After a frantic hunt to try to find her, cops finally located her body behind an apartment building in the city on Labor Day.
In the aftermath of that tragic discovery, Memphis police announced they’d arrested a 38-year-old man identified as Cleotha Abston. He was charged with first-degree murder, perpetration of kidnapping, aggravated kidnapping, and tampering with evidence regarding the kindergarten teacher’s awful death. Abston (pictured during a court appearance, above) has since been appointed a public defender. He is next scheduled to appear in court later on Wednesday.
Now, Fletcher’s family is speaking out. The wife and mother’s grieving loved ones held a press conference on Tuesday afternoon alongside the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office and other law enforcement officials. During that event, the Fletcher family released a statement about her “senseless loss,” 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.”
The family added:
“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.”
Fletcher was initially abducted very close to her church, Second Presbyterian Church, near the University of Memphis campus. That community center released a statement on Tuesday, as well. Per WREG, the church noted:
“We are grieving deeply over the loss of dear church member, Liza Fletcher. Please join us in prayer for the Fletcher, Wellford, and Orgill families, as well as for the Memphis community. We are seeking shelter in the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort whose Son is the blessed hope of the resurrection and will at the Great Day heal us and our whole world.”
Here is the latest on the tragic case:
According to CNN, Eliza was the granddaughter of hardware business mogul Joseph Orgill III, and the eventual heir to a significant fortune.
We send our love to her family and friends during this unimaginable, awful time.
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