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Body of missing jogger Eliza Fletcher identified

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A body found during the investigation into the disappearance of Eliza Fletcher, the 34-year-old woman who was kidnapped Friday morning during a run, has been confirmed as the missing jogger. authorities said Tuesday.

Police in Memphis, Tennessee, announced Monday that a body had been discovered a day after the charges against Cleotha Abston were announced.

Abston, 38, was charged Sunday with kidnapping and tampering with evidence in connection with Fletcher’s disappearance. After her body was identified, additional charges were filed, including first-degree murder and first-degree murder for kidnapping.

He was also charged with unrelated offenses of identity theft, property theft and credit card fraud, police said.

During a settlement Tuesday, a judge set his bail at $510,000. Abston told the judge that he could not afford a lawyer and was appointed as a public defender. He is due to appear in court on Wednesday to be charged with murder.

Fletcher’s body was found just after 5 p.m. Monday in a vacant duplex apartment on Victor Street, police said at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.

Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said he believes the kidnapping was “an isolated attack by a stranger.”

Police have said a person approached Fletcher around 4:20 a.m. Friday, and avid runner, kindergarten teacher and mother of twoand forced her into an SUV.

A pair of Champion slippers recovered in the area where Fletcher disappeared contained DNA matching Abston, according to an affidavit accompanying an indictment.

Security videos of the scene showed “a black GMC property passing and then waiting for the victim to drive by,” the document said. A man then got out of the car, ran to Fletcher and forced her to sit in the passenger seat.

“During this kidnapping, there appeared to have been a struggle,” the document said. “The Champion slippers were found in this area. The vehicle then sat in the parking lot with the victim inside for about four minutes before driving away.”

A cause and manner of death have not been released.

Cellular data obtained by investigators would have determined that Abston’s cell phone was located near where Fletcher was forced into the vehicle.

Officers arrested Abston on Saturday after finding the GMC property with a matching license plate in a parking lot near Abston’s home, the affidavit said.

Mario Abston, 36, Cleotha Abston’s brother, was also arrested but is not associated with Fletcher’s kidnapping, authorities said. He was charged with drug and firearms offences, police tweeted.

Phil Helsel, Kurt Chirbas, Hyder Abbasid, Nicole Duarte , Mirna Alsharif and Marlene Lenthang contributed.


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