On Monday afternoon, a body was found in the 1660 block of Victor Street in South Memphis, Tennessee, sparking an investigation into their identity. Tragically, police later confirmed that it was Eliza “Liza” Fletcher, a 34-year-old school teacher from the area who went missing on Friday while on her usual early morning jog.
Cleotha Abston, the 38-year-old suspect seen on traffic cameras forcing Fletcher into an SUV, was then arrested and charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping, among a variety of unrelated offenses.
The horrific incident rocked the area, shaking even the Memphis Police Department to its core. “To lose someone so young and so vital is a tragedy in and of itself,” said District Attorney Steve Mulroy. “But to have it happen in this way, with a senseless act of violence, it’s unimaginable.”
Eliza Fletcher’s Family Releases a Heartbreaking Statement
The family of Eliza Fletcher remained silent in the wake of her disappearance and subsequent investigation. Now, however, they’ve released a statement about the unbelievable loss.
“We are heartbroken and devastated by this senseless loss,” they wrote. “Liza was such a joy to so many – her family, friends, colleagues, students, parents, members of her Second Presbyterian Church congregations, 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,” they continued. “We appreciate all the expressions of love and concern we have received.”
The Fletcher family then offered their thanks, both for the tireless police efforts and the outpouring of support from the public, and asked for privacy to mourn the loss of Eliza.
“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,” they said. “We hope that everyone, including media representatives, understands the need for the family to grieve in privacy without outside intrusion during this painful time.”
St. Mary’s Episcopal School Responds to Loss of Beloved Teacher
Eliza Fletcher’s family are far from the only ones to grieve her unthinkable death. Those who worked with Eliza at St. Mary’s Episcopal School in Memphis expressed their anguish as well.
“We are heartbroken at the loss of our beloved teacher, colleague, and friend, Liza Fletcher,” they wrote on social media. “Our hearts are with the Fletcher, Orgill, and Wellford families.”
We are heartbroken at the loss of our beloved teacher, colleague, and friend Liza Fletcher. Our hearts are with the Fletcher, Orgill, and Wellford families. pic.twitter.com/41cePIFgos— St. Mary's Episcopal School (@StMarysMemphis) September 6, 2022
“This morning, our faculty and staff started the day in chapel,” they continued. We lit candles to remember Liza, who was a bright light in our community. Liza embodied the song that we sing every week in Early Childhood chapel. ‘This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.'”
“We continue to draw strength from our all-school read, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy. ‘We don’t know about tomorrow,’ said the horse. ‘All we need to know is that we love each other.'”