Cleotha Abston, 38, pleaded guilty in November 2001 to the charge of particularly aggravated kidnapping. He was released in November 2020, according to court records.
Abston is currently facing the same charge of particularly aggravated kidnapping and tampering with evidence in the kidnapping of Eliza “Liza” Fletcher.
Three additional charges have been added for Abston since his arrest on Saturday, according to Shelby County Jail Records. These charges include identity theft, theft of property of $1,000 or less, and fraudulent use/unlawful possession of a credit or debit card of $1,000 or less, according to records.
CNN has contacted the Shelby County District Attorney and Memphis police regarding the additional charges.
Fletcher, 34, a mother of two, was jogging around 4 a.m. Friday when a black GMC Terrain SUV drove past her, according to surveillance footage obtained from the incident. A man was then seen getting out of the vehicle and “aggressively ran” towards Fletcher and forced her into the passenger side of the SUV. Once the two individuals were inside the SUV, the vehicle remained in a parking lot for approximately four minutes before driving off, according to footage cited in an affidavit obtained by CNN.
The affidavit said police had found “physical evidence that she suffered serious injuries”.
Abston was arrested Saturday after police found the GMC Terrain in a parking lot near his residence, according to the affidavit. The vehicle had the same distinctive damage and partial license plate identification seen in surveillance footage of Fletcher’s abduction.
Abston attempted to flee after US Marshals located him nearby, according to the affidavit.
The suspect is being held at the Shelby County jail on $500,000 bail and is due in court on Tuesday, jail records show. We don’t know if he has a lawyer.
DNA recovered from a pair of sandals found near where authorities believe Fletcher was abducted helped investigators identify and arrest Abston, according to the affidavit.
Surveillance footage captured at a local theater the day before Fletcher disappeared showed Abston wearing what authorities believe to be the same pair of Champion slide sandals found at the crime scene, according to the affidavit.
Additional surveillance footage, coupled with statements from Abston’s employer, confirmed that the vehicle in question is owned by a woman associated with Abston’s home address.
Cell phone records also place Abston at the site at the time of Fletcher’s abduction on Friday morning, according to the affidavit.
According to the affidavit, a witness said he saw Abston at his brother’s house after the abduction. The witness and his brother said Abston behaved strangely as he cleaned the interior of his SUV and washed his clothes in the sink.
Photos released by police show Fletcher running in the neighborhood near the University of Memphis. She was last seen wearing a pink jogging top and purple running shorts, police said in an alert.
Fletcher is white, 5-foot-6, has brown hair and green eyes, police said. She weighs 137 pounds.
His family is offering a $50,000 reward through CrimeStoppers for information leading to an arrest in the case, WHBQ reported.
“We look forward to Eliza’s safe return and hope this award will help police capture those who committed this crime,” her family said in a statement shared by Chapman.