An autopsy has revealed the cause of death of a Memphis woman, who was abducted in September while jogging.
“Eliza Fletcher, 34, had a gunshot wound to the back of her head, blunt-force injuries to a leg and jaw fractures, according to an autopsy completed by the West Tennessee Regional Forensic Center in Memphis,” according to Fox News.
Fletcher was abducted in the early morning hours of September 2, allegedly by a man called Cleotha Abston.
Abston, who previously spent almost 20 years in prison for kidnapping an attorney, has been charged with Fletcher’s kidnapping and murder.
That he allegedly shot and killed Fletcher reveals that he was also a felon in possession of a firearm, the latest in a long line of allegations against the man.
Shortly after Fletcher’s abduction, a rape kit that was processed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) matched Abston’s DNA.
That match led to Abston being charged in the September 2021 rape of a woman called Alicia Franklin.
Franklin recalled her terrifying encounter with Abston on Good Morning America.
“Every time I said something he threatened to kill me,” Franklin said. “He forced me in the car [and] he raped me.”
But the city of Memphis never charged Abston, and her rape kit was sent to the backlogged TBI, which took a full year to process it and make the match, raising the question of whether Fletcher would still be alive had the kit been tested sooner.
“They said they didn’t have enough evidence,” said Franklin in the interview. “[They said] this is not enough evidence to charge him for rape.”
Franklin is now suing the city of Memphis, which has not commented on the pending litigation.
Meanwhile, TBI the backlog is due to volume, but that it is working to become more efficient.
“The length of time to work these cases is attributed to the workload of the four scientists assigned to this unit. These forensic scientists work every biological evidence submission, ranging from homicides to SAKs, to robberies, assaults, and break-ins,” TBI spokesperson Kelli McAllister told The Tennessee Star. “In 2021, that included 602 evidence submissions. These scientists are also responsible for responding to crime scenes when necessary and testifying in every court hearing and trial associated with their casework.”
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