'We are heartbroken': Eliza Fletcher's family 'devastated by senseless loss', says she was 'such a joy' to everyone

'Now it’s time to remember and celebrate how special she was and to support those who cared so much for her,' said Eliza Fletcher's family

'We are heartbroken': Eliza Fletcher's family 'devastated by senseless loss', says she was 'such a joy' to everyone
Police in Tennessee say a body found on Monday is that of missing heiress Eliza Fletcher (Memphis Police Department)
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MEMPHIS, TENNNESSEE: The family members of Eliza Fletcher have broken their silence over the “senseless” killing of the Memphis business heiress, after her body was discovered in the tall grass behind a vacant property south of the city. According to the New York Post, the grieving family asked people to focus on “how special” the teacher and mom of two was. They paid tribute to the 34-year-old, known as “Liza” to her loved ones, as “such a joy” to all who knew her. 

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“We 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,” the family said in the statement. “Now it’s time to remember and celebrate how special she was and to support those who cared so much for her.” 

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Eliza Fletcher's body found: Remains discovered 7 miles from where missing teacher was last seen

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On Tuesday, September 6, police confirmed that a body discovered in Memphis on Monday was indeed Fletcher’s, and charged her alleged kidnapper, Cleotha Abston, 38, with additional charges of first-degree murder and first-degree murder in perpetration of kidnapping. Officers searching for the mom had found the body at 5.07 pm Monday, more than 36 hours after Abston was charged with especially aggravated kidnapping. Fletcher vanished after an early morning jog on Friday.

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The family thanked well-wishers for their support as well as all the law enforcement agencies who worked to find the kindergarten teacher and arrest the man accused of carrying out the “horrible crime”. “We appreciate all the expressions of love and concern we have received. 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,” the statement continued. “We hope that everyone, including media representatives, understand the need for the family to grieve in privacy without outside intrusion during this painful time.”

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Fletcher’s body was discovered in the afternoon, in long grass behind a vacant apartment on the 1600 block of Victor in south Memphis. Officers had spotted vehicle tracks and noticed the smell of decay at the rear of the vacant property as they were canvassing the area for signs of the missing teacher, according to an affidavit. Soon after making the tragic discovery, the 34-year-old’s purple Lululemon running shorts were also found nearby dumped inside a discarded trash bag. The dump site is less than a mile from the home of the brother of her alleged killer Cleotha Abston.

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Abston, who already served 20 years in prison for a violent kidnapping, refused to reveal where Fletcher was, police previously said. St Mary’s Episcopal School, where Fletcher taught, also expressed its condolences on Tuesday. “We are heartbroken at the loss of our beloved teacher, colleague, and friend Liza Fletcher. Our hearts are with the Fletcher, Orgill, and Wellford families,” the school said.

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