MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG)– We’re digging into the background of the man now charged in the abduction and murder of Memphis jogger Eliza Fletcher.
Cleotha Abston sits in jail apparently saying very little about the kidnapping of Eliza Fletcher, but police have been able to link him to the crime, saying Abston was driving an SUV seen in surveillance video at the crime scene.
That SUV belonged to Gwendolyn Brown, who lives at a southeast Memphis apartment complex.
“Yes, I am upset, I am very upset,” Brown said.
When we went to Brown’s home Monday, she said she admitted the truck was hers and she said she wanted to talk but would have to call us. She refused to say how she knows Cleotha Abston but adamantly stressed she was not his girlfriend.
We also found police at Brown’s apartment checking out the damage to a glass door. There is no word on what happened.
It’s not the only address connected to Cleotha Abston.
An apartment complex in Frayser is listed as Abston’s address but we are told his mother actually lives here. While his mother wasn’t home, his uncle by marriage said this kidnapping charge is a surprise.
In 2000, as a juvenile, Cleotha Abston was charged and later convicted of kidnapping Memphis attorney Kemper Durand as he was walking from a party on Beale Street. Driving the lawyer around in his trunk and forcing him to get money from an ATM.
That same lawyer has been linked to Eliza Fletcher’s family.
Abston was sentenced to 20 years. He was released in 2018.
We know he worked for a cleaning service. In fact, it was his boss who described to police the vehicle Abston had been driving. The one that matched what police saw on the video of the abduction.
Cleotha Abston is also facing additional charges of identity theft, theft of property $1000 or less, and fraudulent use of a debit card $1000 or less in relation to an incident that happened the day before Fletcher’s abduction.
According to the affidavit, a woman reported her debit cards were stolen to make several purchases after she left her wallet at work.
Investigators said surveillance video showed Abston, who was later identified by his manager, taking her wallet while he was working for the cleaning service. He spent a total of $901.80.
Abston’s brother, Mario, remains in jail on drug charges. Back at his apartment, neighbors said they didn’t know much about Mario and never met Cleotha.
Cleotha Abston is set to go before a judge Tuesday morning.