The family of Tennessee teacher Eliza Fletcher has spoken of their grief in the wake of her tragic death.
Fletcher went missing last Friday, September 2, after going jogging close to the University of Memphis at around 4:30 a.m. Police say she was violently abducted by a man who jumped out of a dark-colored SUV.
Yesterday it was announced that authorities had found a body 20 minutes from the spot where Eliza was taken. Now, as per the New York Post, the body has been identified as the 32-year-old.
Her parents have today released a statement confirming their beloved daughter’s passing. It reads:
“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.”
On Sunday police arrested 38-year-old Cleotha Abston, charging him with especially aggravated kidnapping and tampering with evidence.
Abston, who was sentenced to 24 years in prison after pleading guilty to especially aggravated kidnapping in a separate case in 2000, is the owner of the aforementioned SUV seen during Eliza’s kidnapping.
After the discovery of Eliza’s body on Tuesday – found close to the abode of Abston’s brother, Mario – the charges of first-degree murder and murder in perpetration of kidnapping were also brought against Abston.
The 38-year-old could potentially face the death penalty when he stands trial.
As per reports, neighbors who lived close to Abston were quick to paint him as a strange individual.
Speaking to the Daily Mail newspaper, one neighbor said: “When women were around, he would sit in the truck and stare. He was a weird pervert.
“He watched me come on the porch, then came up the stairs behind me and said, ‘I will give you $100 to f**k,’” she recalled of an incident last winter.”
Another neighbor recalled an incident with Abston that occurred earlier this year. “He kept waving me over to him and was like, ‘I’ve got $100,’” she said.
“He tried to catch my niece too, tried to get her to come into the apartment with him.
“As far as I know, nobody here have sex with him. He creepy, he really creepy.”