Man charged with abducting missing Memphis jogger, police say – Reuters

Memphis Police Department

(MEMPHIS, Tennessee) – A man has been arrested in connection with the kidnapping of a Memphis woman who never returned from her morning run, police said.

The Memphis Police Department announced via Twitter early Sunday that Cleotha Abston, 38, has been charged with particularly aggravated kidnapping and tampering with evidence.

Police said they arrested Abston on Saturday night after he was found inside an SUV authorities were looking for in connection with the kidnapping. A public information official told ABC News they could not share the location of the vehicle of interest at this time.

A second individual, identified as Mario Abston, 36, who is not currently suspected of being linked to the kidnapping, has also been arrested on drug and firearms charges, according to police.

Police said Eliza Fletcher, 34, remains missing and they, along with their local and federal partners, continue to search for her. The investigation into his abduction is “active and ongoing”, police said.

Fletcher was last seen jogging in the Central Avenue and Zach Curlin Street area of ​​downtown Memphis, near the University of Memphis campus in southwest Tennessee, Friday morning around 4:20 a.m. local time, before she was approached by a stranger and forced into a dark-colored GMC Terrain, police said. The SUV – which authorities said was a vehicle of interest – took off, heading west on Central Avenue, police said.

Fletcher was wearing a pink jogging top and purple running shorts at the time of his abduction. She has brown hair and green eyes, weighs 137 pounds and is 5ft 6in tall, according to police.

St. Mary’s Episcopal School in Memphis said in a social media statement that Fletcher is a “beloved” kindergarten teacher at Girls’ Preparatory School.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said it is assisting the Memphis Police Department in the search for Fletcher.

Fletcher’s family released a video statement via the Memphis Police Department on Saturday, pleading for his safe return.

“We want to start by thanking everyone for their prayers and outpouring of support,” Fletcher’s uncle, Mike Keeney, said in the video as he was surrounded by family members, including parents, Fletcher’s brother and husband.

“Liza has touched the hearts of many people and it shows,” he added.

The family urged anyone with information about the case to contact authorities. They are offering a $50,000 reward for information that leads to Fletcher’s safe return.

“More than anything, we want to see Liza get home safely,” Keeney said. “We believe someone knows what happened and can help.”

Anyone with information about Fletcher’s whereabouts is asked to call the Memphis Police Department at 901-528-2274 or 901-545-2677, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-TBI-FIND, or dial 911.

ABC News’ Alexandra Faul and Ahmad Hemingway contributed to this report.

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