October 5, 2022
Attorney kidnapped man on charges of jogger kidnapping in 2000

Memphis, Tenn. (AP) — The man accused of kidnapping a Tennessee woman near the University of Memphis last week spent 20 years behind bars for a previous kidnapping.

According to the arrest affidavit, US marshals arrested 38-year-old Cliotha Ebston on Saturday after police found her DNA on a pair of sandals found near Elijah Fletcher where she was last seen. Police also linked the vehicle, which they believe was used in the kidnapping, to where Abston was living.

whereas Fletcher is not foundMemphis police said in the affidavit that they believe she was seriously injured in the kidnapping, which was captured on surveillance video. Authorities have said Fletcher, 34, was jogging around 4 a.m. Friday when a man approached him and, after a brief struggle, took him in an SUV. Fletcher was reported missing when he did not return home that morning.

Late Monday, police tweeted that a body was found in a Memphis neighborhood, but the man’s identity and cause of death had not been confirmed. The tweet made no reference to the Fletcher case, saying only that the investigation was ongoing. Local news reports said a large police presence was reported in the area where authorities reported the body being found after 5 pm.

Cliotha Ebston was charged last week with kidnapping a Tennessee woman near the University of Memphis.
Cliotha Ebston was charged last week with kidnapping a Tennessee woman near the University of Memphis.

Abston previously kidnapped a prominent Memphis lawyer in 2000 reported commercial appeal, When he was just 16 years old, Abston forced Kemper Durand into the trunk of his car at gunpoint. After several hours, Abston pulls Durand out and forces him to go to a Mapco gas station to withdraw money from an ATM. At the station, an armed Memphis Housing Authority guard walked in and Durand shouted for help. Abston fled but was found and arrested. According to court records, he pleaded guilty in 2001 to particularly serious kidnapping and grave robbery. He was sentenced to 24 years.

“I was extremely fortunate that I was able to escape the custody of Cliotha Ebston. …it is very likely that I would have been killed if I had not survived,” Durand wrote in a victim impact statement. Reported in the Commercial Appeals. Durand noted that it took more than a year for Abston to sign the guilty plea, calling the denial a “jailhouse bragdocio”.

Durand also detailed Abston’s long history in the juvenile court system. According to Durand’s statement, in the years before the kidnapping, Abston was charged with burglary, aggravated assault, grievous assault with a weapon, and rape.

Durand died in 2013, seven years before Abston would be released in November 2020 at the age of 36, reports Commercial Appeals. There were no further documentary allegations against Abston in Shelby County in the two years since his release.

Online court records do not show whether Abston has an attorney who can comment on his behalf. The hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday.

Fletcher is the granddaughter of the late Joseph Orgill III, a Memphis hardware businessman and philanthropist. The family issued a video statement asking for help in locating Fletcher and offered a $50,000 reward for information in the case.

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