The family of murdered Memphis heiress Eliza Fletcher said on Tuesday that they were devastated after her remains were discovered and asked people to focus on “how special” the teacher and mother of two was.
“We are heartbroken and devastated by this senseless loss. Liza was such a joy to so many — her family, friends, colleagues, students, parents, members of her Second Presbyterian Church congregation, and everyone who knew her,” the family said in a statement.
“Now it’s time to remember and celebrate how special she was and to support those who cared so much for her,” they said of Fletcher, 34.
On Tuesday, police confirmed that a body discovered in Memphis on Monday was Fletcher’s, and her alleged kidnapper, Cleotha Abston, 38, was given additional charges of first-degree murder and first-degree murder in perpetration of kidnapping.
Officers searching for Fletcher found the body at 5:07 p.m. on Monday over 36 hours after Abston was charged with especially aggravated kidnapping and tampering with evidence, hours after cops found him inside the black SUV wanted in connection with Fletcher’s disappearance. Fletcher went missing after an early morning jog on Friday.
Abston had already served 20 years in prison for a violent kidnapping and refused to reveal where Fletcher was, police previously said.
“We appreciate all the expressions of love and concern we have received,” Fletcher’s family said in their statement. “We are grateful beyond measure to local, state and federal law enforcement for their tireless efforts to find Liza and to bring justice to the person responsible for this horrible crime.”
Fletcher was the heiress to the billion-dollar Orgill Inc. hardware fortune. She was also a teacher at St. Mary’s Episcopal School, who also expressed its condolences Tuesday.
“We are heartbroken at the loss of our beloved teacher, colleague, and friend Liza Fletcher. Our hearts are with the Fletcher, Orgill, and Wellford families,” the school said.
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