Rape victim of Eliza Fletcher's killer says cops failed to probe her case because she was 'an average Black girl'

Franklin said she met Henderson on a dating app and agreed to meet him in person in September 2021 at his apartment where he raped her at gunpoint

Rape victim of Eliza Fletcher's killer says cops failed to probe her case because she was 'an average Black girl'
Cleotha Abston-Henderson (R) has been accused of murdering Memphis heiress Eliza Fletcher (L) (Tennessee Department of Corrections and @lizawfletcher/Instagram)
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WARNING: This article contains has content about sexual abuse that some readers may find distressing. Discretion is advised.

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE: Alicia Franklin, 22, who said that she was allegedly raped by the 38-year-old Cleotha Abston-Henderson, the same man accused of murdering Eliza Fletcher, has now said that Memphis Police Department failed to make her case a priority. She said, “I just think it wasn’t a priority. I was just an average Black girl in the city of Memphis, you know.”

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Breaking her silence, Franklin, who identified herself publically, spoke to Daily Memphian about Henderson, who has been charged with raping her one year ago in addition to the abduction and murder of Fletcher. She said, "I feel that my story could help other women." Franklin said 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. "I really thought he was going to shoot me in the back of my head," she narrated and remembered how she pleaded, "Can you please let me go? Please let me go," as quoted by DailyMail.

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She accused cops of failing to make her case a priority, suggesting that her race may have played a role in it. She said, “I was just an average Black girl in the city of Memphis." As per the report, while 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 CrimeOnline, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation told WREG in a statement that it didn’t complete testing on the sample from the 2021 rape until August 29, 2022, and Henderson was identified as the suspect on September 5, 2022, the same day investigators found Fletcher’s body behind an abandoned house in south Memphis.

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Henderson, who was due before a judge on Monday, September 20, 2022, in Shelby County court for a hearing, has his hearing now on September 28.

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