MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG)– The Memphis Police Department could be the target of a new lawsuit related to Cleotha Abston-Henderson, the suspect in the Eliza Fletcher murder case.
The woman filing the lawsuit says she tried to warn police about Abston-Henderson, but they didn’t follow through.
According to the victim, the rape happened at the Lakes at Ridgeway apartments in Hickory Hill.
The victim’s attorney says Cleotha Abston-Henderson lured her into an abandoned unit with concrete floors, then forced her into a vehicle where he raped her.
Her attorney says she then did what she thought was right. She reported the incident to police and gave samples for a rape kit.
She hoped that would be enough to put her rapist behind bars. But nothing happened in her case until Eliza Fletcher’s disappearance nearly one year later.
WREG has been investigating the rape kit backlog for years. A woman who didn’t want to be identified told us in 2019 that she was waiting on rape kit testing as well.
“I just feel like they don’t care and they’re brushing it off,” she said.
Monday, the attorney says there’s no excuse especially when the wait time resulted in the suspect remaining on the streets, where he allegedly kidnapped and killed Fletcher nearly a year later.
That’s why the attorney says they plan to sue MPD, arguing if the state can’t process rape kits fast enough then they should turn to another source like private labs in other states.
He also says they’re suing the owners of the apartment complex for not providing a secure environment.
The victim has moved away from Memphis since this happened. We have asked Memphis Police if they have any response but so far we haven’t heard back.