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New details emerge in the death of mom and teacher Eliza Fletcher, suspect is arraigned on murder charges

Police found purple running shorts that appeared to belong to Fletcher in a discarded trash bag near where her body discovered, according an affidavit.

Police searching near a vacant home where the body of Eliza Fletcher was located also found some purple running shorts that appeared to belong to the missing jogger in a discarded trash bag, authorities said.

An amended arrest affidavit obtained by NBC News contained the new details of investigators' path to finding Fletcher, a 34-year-old teacher and mother of two who was abducted while on a morning jog last week in Memphis, Tennessee.

Authorities filed the amended affidavit days after arresting Cleotha Abston, 38, on suspicion of kidnapping and tampering with evidence in connection with Fletcher's disappearance early Friday morning.

Additional charges of first-degree murder and first-degree murder in perpetration of kidnapping were filed against Abston Tuesday following the discovery and identification of Fletcher's body.

Abston was arraigned Wednesday on the murder charges, and a judge revoked Abston's bond, which was previously set at $510,000.

Eliza Fletcher in a photo released by the Memphis Police Department.
Eliza Fletcher in a photo released by the Memphis Police Department.Memphis Police Department

Officers searched for Fletcher near a vacant residence Monday evening on Victor Street in Memphis, according to the affidavit. Police saw vehicle tracks near the driveway of a home and "smelled an odor of decay."

Officers began searching around the residence and found an unresponsive woman that matched the description of Fletcher near the steps of the home.

Police canvassed the surrounding area, and an officer located a discarded trash bag nearby that contained purple Lululemon running shorts that looked like "the ones Eliza Fletcher was last seen wearing," according to the affidavit.

“We are heartbroken and devastated by this senseless loss," Fletcher's family said in a statement to NBC News. "Liza was a such a joy to so many — her family, friends, colleagues, students, parents, members of her Second Presbyterian Church congregation, and everyone who knew her."

"Now it’s time to remember and celebrate how special she was and to support those who cared so much for her," her family continued. "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."

Fletcher's husband, Richard Fletcher, initially reported his wife missing around 7 a.m. Friday after she did not return home from her regular 4 a.m. run, according to the affidavit.

Fletcher, a kindergarten teacher, was running near the University of Memphis when she disappeared. According to surveillance footage viewed by investigators, a black GMC Terrain passed Fletcher and then waited for her to run by the vehicle.

A man then exited the SUV, ran aggressively toward Fletcher and forced her into the passenger seat. The man remained in the vehicle with the victim for about four minutes before driving away, according to the affidavit.

Investigators linked Abston to the vehicle after a pair of Champion slide sandals found near the scene of Fletcher's abduction were found with his DNA on them, according to the affidavit. Cellular records also placed Abston's phone near the site of the abduction.

Two witnesses told police they saw Abston cleaning a GMC Terrain with floor cleaner and washing his clothes in the sink Friday morning, according to the affidavit. The witnesses said Abston was “behaving oddly” and “acting very strange,” the affidavit said.

Officers arrested Abston on Saturday after locating the GMC Terrain with a matching license plate number and damage to the rear taillight in a parking lot. Abston attempted to flee when police approached, but officers were able to place him in custody, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit states Abston refused to tell investigators where Fletcher was located after he was arrested.