Woman allegedly raped by Eliza Fletcher murder suspect claims cops 'had more than enough evidence' to keep him in jail

Alicia Franklin said that DNA evidence from Fletcher's case was tested within hours but the sexual assault kit in her case wasn’t analyzed for 10 months

Woman allegedly raped by Eliza Fletcher murder suspect claims cops 'had more than enough evidence' to keep him in jail
Alicia Franklin (L) said that she was raped by Cleotha Henderson (R), who has been also accused of kidnapping and killing Eliza Fletcher (inset) (Tennessee Department of Corrections, @lizawfletcher/Instagram and Good Morning America/YouTube)
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WARNING: This article contains content about sexual abuse that some readers may find distressing. Discretion is advised.

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE: Alicia Franklin, 22, who accused Cleotha Abston-Henderson, 38, of allegedly raping her in September 2021, has said Memphis police “had more than enough evidence” to put him behind the bars but they didn’t. Henderson has also been accused of abducting and murdering Memphis heiress and teacher Eliza Fletcher on September 2, 2022.

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In an interview with ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, just a day after filing a lawsuit against the City of Memphis over how her case was handled, Franklin said, “I'm angry. Not a day goes by that I didn't think about this."  Franklin, as previously reported, narrated how she met Henderson on the dating app Plenty of Fish and agreed to meet him in person in September 2021. The original plan was to meet for dinner at Olive Garden but it got shifted to his apartment when Franklin said her car was riding on a spare tire and she could not drive that far from her place.  Recollecting the details, she said that as soon as she entered his apartment, Henderson held a gun to her neck, then blindfolded her with a T-shirt and raped her. Franklin added that she was four months pregnant at the time. "I told him I was pregnant. He didn't care," she said, as quoted by ABC.  Franklin also accused cops of failing to make her case a priority, suggesting that her race may have played a role in it. She said that the DNA evidence from Fletcher's abduction was tested within hours but the sexual assault kit submitted by Memphis police in Franklin’s case wasn’t analyzed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for 10 months.

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According to an ABC report, Franklin said that the DNA results were reported only after Fletcher went missing. She told ABC's Erielle Reshef, "They had more than enough evidence that night when they interviewed me to get him off the streets. But they didn't."

She further added, "I didn't want to believe it because I just never thought that my case would have [been] tied to [Fletcher's] case. I was shocked. I'm still kind of trying to process everything," and added, "I definitely believe she would have still been alive today." Describing the horror, Franklin told, "I have always been paranoid since then. I’m always on edge, I don’t trust people. I’m always looking over my shoulder." 

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The 2021 attack happened at the same apartment complex as Henderson’s last known address, 5781 Waterstone Oak Way, and where officers arrested him on September 3, 2022, after the attack on Fletcher.

Commenting on the case, Henderson's mother, who has at his hearing on September 28, said, "He's just a good person, kind, lovable. I talked to him, and he said he didn't do it," as reported by Fox News.

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