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Man Charged With Kidnapping TN Woman Served Time In Earlier Case

Cleotha Abston, who is charged with kidnapping a Tennessee woman jogging near the University of Memphis last week, spent 20 years in prison for a previous kidnapping. U.S. Marshals arrested Abston, 38, on Saturday after police detected his DNA on a pair of sandals found near where Eliza Fletcher was last seen. Police linked the vehicle they believe was used in the kidnapping to a person at a residence where Abston was staying. Memphis police believe Fletcher was seriously injured in the abduction, which was caught on surveillance video. Fletcher, 34, was jogging at 4 a.m. Friday when a man forced her into an SUV after a brief struggle.


When Abston was 16, he forced prominent Memphis attorney Kemper Durand into the trunk of his own car at gunpoint. Abston later forced Durand to drive to a gas station to withdraw money from an ATM. An armed Memphis Housing Authority guard walked in and Durand yelled for help. Abston ran away but was found and arrested. He pleaded guilty in 2001 and was sentenced to 24 years in prison. Durand died in 2013, seven years before Abston would be released at age 36. Fletcher is the granddaughter of the late Joseph Orgill III, a Memphis hardware businessman and philanthropist.

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