The famile and loved ones of Eliza Fletcher are heartbroken and devastated after the billionaire heiress was found dead on Sept. 5 amid a police investigation into her kidnapping. Here is the family’s statement.
The billionaire heiress and kindergarten teacher, 34, was found dead on Sept. 5, three days after she was abducted while out on a jog in Memphis, according to the city’s police department.
In the wake of the tragic discovery, her family released a statement and shared how they 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,” read a statement published by local news station WREG on Sept. 6. “Now it’s time to remember and celebrate how special she was and to support those who cared so much for her.”
Thanking the community for their “expressions of love and concern” amid this difficult time, the family continued, “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.”
They added, “We hope that everyone, including media representatives, understand the need for the family to grieve in privacy without outside intrusion during this painful time.”
Fletcher was first reported missing on Sept. 2, when she did not return home from her morning jog, per police. Authorities said in a missing persons alert at the time that she had been approached by an individual during her run and “forced into an SUV.”
During a press conference on Sept. 6, Memphis police announced that they had arrested and charged Cleotha Abston, 38, with first-degree murder and perpetration of kidnapping, aggravated kidnapping and tampering with evidence in connection to Fletcher’s disappearance and death.
Abston told the judge during an arraignment that same day that he could not afford a lawyer and was appointed a public defender. His bond was set at $510,000 and he is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 7.
Per CNN, Fletcher was the granddaughter of late hardware mogul Joseph Orgill III. Founded in 1847, the Orgill company has annual sales of $3 billion, according to the business’ website.