Video emerges of Eliza Fletcher singing to her students and playing with her dog, as alleged killer is charged

Suspected killer has been arrested

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Wednesday 07 September 2022 10:03 BST
Video emerges of Eliza Fletcher singing to her students as alleged killer is charged

Video has surfaced of Eliza Fletcher, the Tennessee kindergarten teacher who was kidnapped and killed last week, recording a song for her students.

In the clip, Fletcher, a junior teacher at St Mary’s Episcopal school in Memphis, sings “This Little Light of Mine” and tells students about her dog. The video, which has been viewed more than 530,000 times on Twitter, comes from Fletcher’s YouTube channel. (The channel appears to have been taken off the video-sharing site.)

Fletcher went missing early on Friday morning after going for a run near the University of Memphis campus. Her body was discovered on Monday behind a vacant home near where she was abducted, according to police.

“We are heartbroken and devastated by this senseless loss. Liza was a joy to so many — her family, friends, colleagues, students, parents, members of her Second Presbyterian Church congregation, and everyone who knew her,” family said in a statement.

Memphis officials called the killing a “very sad day in the city.”

“While the outcome of this investigation is not what we hoped for, we are nonetheless pleased to remove this dangerous predator off the streets of Memphis,” Memphis police chief Cerelyn Davis, said during a news conference on Tuesday

On Sunday, police arrested Cleotha Abston, 38, who is suspected of abducting and killing the teacher. He has been charged with first-degree murder as well as kidnapping.

Man appears in court charged with murder of heiress Eliza Fletcher

Surveillance footage obtained by police shows an individual forcing the mother of two into a black GMC SUV.

Officials found the suspected killer after a cyclist located the missing woman’s cell phone and a pair of sandals near the abduction site.

Police said the DNA on the sandals matched Mr Abston.

The 38-year-old served 20 years in prison for a 2000 kidnapping, before being released in November of 2020.

He appeared in court on Tuesday in Shelby County on the kidnapping charges, and will be back on Wednesday to appear in regard to the murder charges.

Ms Fletcher is the granddaughter of the late local businessman and philanthropist Joseph “Joe” Orgill III, who founded the Memphis hardware supply company Orgill.

The private, family-ran business is now worth $3.2bn with the company website describing it as the “world’s largest independently owned hardlines distributor, providing retailers across North America and in more than 60 countries throughout the world access to over 75,000 products and industry-leading retail services”.

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