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Man arrested in billionaire heiress kidnapping has bond set at $500,000

38-year-old Cleotha Abston was previously arrested and charged in 2000 for the kidnapping of attorney Kemper Durand in Memphis, Tennessee.

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Joshua Young Youngsville North Carolina
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38-year-old Cleotha Abston was arrested and charged Saturday for the abduction of Eliza Fletcher, a mother of two, who went missing on Friday in Memphis, Tennessee.

Fox News reports that Abston's charge is "especially aggravated kidnapping and tampering" and his bond was set at $500,000 on Sunday. Abston could be released on his own recognizance if he, or someone on his behalf, posts $50,000 in bail.

Abston, who was recently released from prison for a 2000 kidnapping, has yet to reveal where Fletcher is or what he did to her. The affidavit said that blood was found inside of Abston’s vehicle indicating that Fletcher had suffered a "serious injury."

Fletcher was last seen at around 4:20 am on Friday while she was jogging in Memphis. Police say that a man approached her, and after a struggle, Abston forced her inside of his SUV, a GMC Terrain. Fletcher is a kindergarten teacher and the heiress to Orgill hardware company, which her grandfather built up into a global brand over decades. At 7:45 am Fletcher was reported missing by her husband and the University of Memphis.

Surveillance footage has been recovered that showed the entirety of Fletcher's abduction.

The footage shows Abston's GMC Terrain following her, passing her, waiting for her to run by, and then a man getting out to grab her. After she was in the SUV he drove off to a nearby parking lot and idled for four minutes before driving away.

Further, according to the affidavit, authorities positively identified Abston as the kidnapper through a pair of Champion brand slides, which are a type of sandal. While struggling with Fletcher, Abston left his sandals at the scene and they carried his DNA on them.

Investigators also revealed that Abston’s cell phone had been in the area of the kidnapping.

The affidavit also described an interview investigators had with a woman, who described Abston’s behavior as "odd" and "strange" in the hours following the abduction, and described him frantically cleaning the interior of his car and clothing.

When authorities went to Abston’s last known address, they found the SUV with the broken tail light seen in surveillance videos of the incident, and apprehended Abston after he attempted to flee around 10:20 am.

Abston was arrested in 2000 for the kidnapping of attorney Kemper Durand in Memphis, Tennessee.

Abston approached Durand from behind at around 2 am on May 25, 2000, robbed him, and then forced him into the trunk of his car. Abston drove Durand around for several hours and forced him to take out cash from an ATM. Durand survived because during the ordeal he spotted a housing authority officer and yelled for help, causing Abston to flee.

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