An unidentified body has been found in Memphis, Tennessee during the search for missing heiress Eliza Fletcher, US police have confirmed.
Authorities said the identity of the deceased and the cause of death have yet to be confirmed as they continue their investigation.
The discovery comes after a man, Cleotha Abston, 38, was charged on Saturday as a suspect in Fletcher’s kidnapping and for tampering with evidence after her DNA was detected on a pair of Champion sandals at the place of his disappearance.
The 34-year-old heiress and teacher disappeared around 4:20 a.m. while jogging around the University of Memphis Friday morning when someone allegedly forced her into a dark sport utility vehicle, US police said.
A vehicle believed to have been used in the alleged kidnapping has been linked to a person at a property where the suspect, Abston, was staying.
Fletcher, who is the granddaughter of late businessman and philanthropist Joseph Orgill III, was reportedly seriously injured in the incident, police previously said, based on surveillance footage.
Memphis police said in an email late Monday that “the investigation into the kidnapping is ongoing” and that “as soon as additional information becomes available, we will let you know.”
Reports have emerged that the suspect, Abston, had already been charged with another kidnapping when he was 16.
Abston was arrested and jailed for 24 years for kidnapping and robbing Memphis attorney Kemper Durand in 2000, then released from prison in 2020.
Mr Durand had managed to escape after a few hours and has since died in 2013.
In a statement released by Commercial Appeal, Mr Durand said: “My feelings of being a victim of this crime, and the feelings of those around me, are that I was extremely lucky to have been able to escape from the custody of Cleotha Abston.
“I had been taken from the trunk of my car, where he and his co-accused had placed me for several hours, and made to go to the Mapco station.
“The point was that I had to use my ATM card to get money for Cleotha Abston.”
He added: “It was very lucky that an armed, uniformed guard from the Memphis Housing Authority walked into the Mapco station while Cleotha Abston, Marquette Cobbins (the second accused) and I were using the ATM.
“It is very likely that I would have been killed if I had not escaped.”
Mr Durand had told the court that Cobbins had been in the wrong place at the wrong time and tried to convince Abston to quit.
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