Wed. Mar 29th, 2023

One man has been charged in connection with the abduction of Eliza Fletcher, a Memphis teacher and granddaughter of a billionaire, but she remains missing, the police said on Sunday.

Ms. Fletcher, 34, who also goes by Liza, was last seen jogging near the University of Memphis campus at about 4:30 a.m. on Friday when she was forced into a dark-colored S.U.V., the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said on Twitter. Officers were dispatched at 7:45 a.m. after she did not return home.

The person detained, Cleotha Abston, 38, was charged with especially aggravated kidnapping and tampering with evidence, the police said. Mr. Abston had been in the S.U.V. used in the abduction.

Ms. Fletcher’s grandfather, Joseph Orgill III, was a billionaire who ran Orgill Inc., a Memphis-based hardware distributor. He died in 2018.

Orgill is the nation’s largest independent distributor in its field of hardware and home improvement, according to Forbes. It is the 143rd largest private company with 2021 revenue of $3.2 billion.

Ms. Fletcher is an heiress to the company’s fortune. Orgill did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

In a video statement, family members said they had met with the police and shared all the information they knew.

Credit…Memphis Police Department

Ms. Fletcher is a mother of two and a junior kindergarten teacher at St. Mary’s Episcopal School in Memphis. Her cellphone and water bottle were found in front of a home that is owned by the University of Memphis.

The Second Presbyterian Church, where her family worships, dedicated a hymn to Ms. Fletcher via Facebook live.

“We join our 2PC family, as well as many others in the city of Memphis and beyond in praying for Liza’s safety, and that she will be found soon,” the church wrote. “We also pray for her husband, Richie, and their two sons.”

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