Man accused in jogger’s death faces charges in earlier case

Sep 10, 2022, 9:16 AM | Updated: 3:24 pm
Runners make their way down Main Street in Tupelo, Miss. as they hold their "Liza's Lights" run ear...

Runners make their way down Main Street in Tupelo, Miss. as they hold their "Liza's Lights" run early Friday morning, Spet. 9, 2022, in Tupelo Miss., to remember Eliza Fletcher, who was abducted and murdered while she was running in the early morning hours in Memphis, Tenn. (Thomas Wells/The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal via AP)

(Thomas Wells/The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal via AP)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The man charged with abducting and killing a Tennessee teacher this month was a suspect in a 2021 kidnapping and sexual case, but his indictment over those allegations didn’t occur until Thursday because of the timing in testing his DNA.

Cleotha Henderson was rebooked at the Shelby County Jail on Friday on charges of aggravated rape, especially aggravated kidnapping and unlawful carrying of a weapon. Details of the newest allegations against Henderson were not immediately available.

The indictment came days after Henderson’s arrest in the death of Eliza Fletcher, a mother of two and a kindergarten teacher.

Fletcher disappeared while on a pre-dawn run near the University of Memphis campus on Sept. 2, and her remains were found Monday near an abandoned house. Henderson is being held in the Shelby County Jail without bond on the charges related to Fletcher’s death.

In the earlier case, Memphis police took a sexual assault report on Sept. 21, 2021, the department said in a statement Saturday. A sexual assault kit was submitted two days later to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the statement said.

“An official CODIS (national DNA database) hit was not received until after the unfortunate event that occurred on September 2, 2022,” the Memphis police statement said, referring to the jogger’s abduction. “Probable cause to make a physical arrest of any suspect did not exist until after the CODIS hit had been received.”

Memphis police provided no further details, citing “an ongoing criminal prosecution.” Henderson’s public defender could not be reached for comment Saturday.

The TBI confirmed Saturday that the sexual assault kit was submitted last Sept. 23.

The evidence was “put into the queue of unknown assailant kits, as no request was made for TBI analysis to be expedited, and no suspect information or DNA standard was included in the submission,” the TBI statement said.

The kit eventually was pulled from evidence storage along with 19 other kits for analysis this past June 24 and an initial report of the results was completed on Aug. 29, the TBI said.

When the 2021 DNA was entered into the national database, it returned a match for Henderson on Sept. 5, which the TBI reported to Memphis police, the TBI said.

The TBI accepts “rush DNA cases” when requested to do so by local law enforcement agencies, as was done in the Fletcher case, according to the TBI. Last weekend, Henderson was identified as the suspect “less than 18 hours after receiving key evidence, which was critical in his subsequent apprehension.”

“Because we rarely know the facts of the case when processing evidence, TBI relies on submitting agencies to identify cases that would benefit their investigation from our rush analysis,” the TBI statement said.

Henderson, who also has gone by the name Cleotha Abston, is charged with kidnapping and killing Fletcher, 34. Henderson is being held in the Shelby County Jail without bond on the charges stemming from Fletcher’s death.

Henderson was arrested after police detected his DNA on sandals found near the location where Fletcher was last seen, an arrest affidavit said.

A funeral for Fletcher was held Saturday.

Henderson, 38, previously served 20 years in prison for a kidnapping he committed at age 16.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Sun shines on the U.S. Capitol dome in Washington, Aug. 12, 2022. Negotiators have agreed to...
Associated Press

House OKs bill to avert government shutdown, aid Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic-led House passed a short-term spending bill on Friday that finances the federal government through mid-December and provides another infusion of military and economic aid to Ukraine as lawmakers acted to avert a partial government shutdown set to begin after midnight. The bill passed the House by a vote of 230-201. […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

2 lawsuits target Wisconsin policy on absentee ballots

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Two lawsuits filed this week argue that Wisconsin election clerks should be allowed to accept absentee ballots that are missing portions of witness addresses, the next step in the ongoing legal battle that has pit conservatives against liberals in the battleground state. The lawsuits, filed three days apart on Tuesday and […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

How major US stock indexes fared Friday 9/30/2022

Wall Street closed out a miserable September with a loss of 9.3%, the worst monthly decline since March 2020. The S&P 500 fell 1.5% Friday to its lowest level in almost two years. The benchmark index has lost ground for six of the last seven weeks and posted its third straight losing quarter. Nike fell […]
15 hours ago
FILE - Naomi Judd poses at the Hero Dog Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif....
Associated Press

Tennessee high court reverses Judd death investigation order

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s high court on Thursday vacated a ruling that required police to publicly release their investigation of country singer Naomi Judd’s death. The state Supreme Court did not rule on whether the records can be released, but sent the case back to the lower court for another hearing. Judd’s family filed […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Nike, Carnival fall; F45 Training, Micron Technology rise

Stocks that traded heavily or had substantial price changes Friday: Nike Inc., down $12.21 to $83.12. The shoe and athletic apparel maker’s profitability weakened this summer because it had to offer discounts to clear out suddenly overstuffed warehouses. Carnival Corp., down $2.13 to $7.03. The cruise ship operator posted a loss that was much wider […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Abortion info fight targets university but affects far more

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A box truck equipped with a bright LED billboard began circling around the University of Idaho campus Friday. “Pregnant? You still have a choice,” read one of the bright blue-and-white messages flashing across the side. “You can still get abortion pills by mail,” read another message. The moving billboard was a […]
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Man accused in jogger’s death faces charges in earlier case