- by theguardian
- 07 Oct 2022
The murder of a Tennessee teacher who was forced into a car near the University of Memphis could have been avoided had police properly investigated an accusation of rape against the suspect, a lawsuit filed on Tuesday claimed.
Alicia Franklin said she was raped last September by Cleotha Abston, who is now charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping in connection with the death of Eliza Fletcher.
In court earlier this month, Abston pleaded not guilty to aggravated rape, especially aggravated kidnapping and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.
In an earlier hearing, he did not enter a plea to the murder and kidnapping charges.
According to Franklin's lawsuit, despite immediately seeking medical attention and reporting the rape to Memphis police, she was given no update for months.
A sexual assault kit including DNA evidence was gathered, WMC reported, but not tested until this year. The DNA information was entered into the Tennessee bureau of investigation data system on 5 September, according to WMC, days after Fletcher was abducted while out jogging.
Fletcher's body was found the same day behind a vacant duplex, police said. She was abducted at about 4am on 2 September, when a man forced her into a sport utility vehicle after a brief struggle, police said.