Girl says Memphis police failed to research her rape. The suspect is now charged in Eliza Fletcher’s homicide.

A lady who mentioned she was raped final yr by the person charged with killing Eliza Fletcher says that Memphis police didn’t correctly examine her case and if they’d, Fletcher can be alive.

In a lawsuit towards town of Memphis, Alicia Franklin mentioned she met Cleotha Abston on a relationship app final yr and that they talked for a few month earlier than assembly in individual on Sept. 21, 2021, at The Lakes at Ridgeway residences.

Franklin mentioned within the go well with that she and Abston, who she knew as “Cleo,” had deliberate to go to dinner however when she arrived he pulled a gun out on her and compelled her right into a vacant condo.

Abston, who informed Franklin that he was a upkeep employee on the complicated, blindfolded her together with his t-shirt and threatened to kill her, in line with the lawsuit filed Tuesday within the Shelby County Circuit Courtroom.

The go well with states that Abston walked Franklin by the condo and out a again door to his car, the place she says he raped her within the backseat.

Abston was charged with aggravated rape earlier this month within the 2021 incident and pleaded not responsible.

Extra on Eliza Fletcher’s disappearance and demise

Franklin mentioned within the go well with she tried to cease Abston by telling him she was pregnant however he appeared “unmoved,” the lawsuit states.

The girl mentioned that Abston then stole cash from her and made her wait contained in the condo till he drove away, in line with the courtroom doc.

Franklin mentioned she instantly sought medical consideration and reported it to Memphis police. The lawsuit says she submitted to a forensic medical examination, the place a sexual assault equipment was gathered and included DNA proof.

Cleotha Abston seems in a courtroom for his arraignment in in Memphis, Tenn. on Sept. 6.Mark Weber / Day by day Memphian by way of AP file

She took officers to the scene, however the lawsuit states that police “took no bodily proof straight from the crime scene itself.” To assist investigators, Franklin gave them the identify “Cleo,” his phone quantity, an outline of his car, and his social media together with the relationship app they met on, in line with the lawsuit.

Days after the assault, Franklin was requested to have a look at a photograph lineup of doable suspects. The lawsuit says that police included an older {photograph} of Abston within the lineup however Franklin couldn’t establish her attacker.

For months, Franklin was given no replace on her case. In response to the lawsuit, Memphis police despatched the sexual assault equipment to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) however didn’t request that it’s processed in an expedited method.

The Memphis Police Division declined to remark Wednesday, citing pending litigation. Town didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark Wednesday.

Eliza Fletcher
Eliza Fletcher.Memphis Police Division

The sexual assault equipment remained untouched till June, in line with the lawsuit. It was not decided that the DNA matched Abston till Sept. 5, three days after Abston is accused of forcing Fletcher into his SUV whereas she was on an early-morning jog.

Abston, 38, was arrested the subsequent day after police discovered the SUV in a car parking zone by his residence, an affidavit says. He was arraigned on a number of fees, together with first-degree homicide and kidnapping. 

Fletcher’s physique was discovered Sept. 5 in a vacant duplex condo. A trigger and method of demise haven’t been launched.

Franklin’s lawsuit says that Abston “ought to and will have been arrested and indicted for the aggravated rape of Alicia Franklin many months earlier, most probably within the yr 2021 … and the kidnapping and homicide of Eliza Fletcher wouldn’t have occurred.”

The TBI mentioned it not often is aware of the main points of a case and depends on native regulation enforcement businesses to submit any pertinent data. It expedites a case solely on the request of native regulation enforcement, the TBI mentioned in an emailed assertion.

Franklin’s case “was put into the queue of unknown assailant kits, as no request was made for TBI evaluation to be expedited, and no suspect data or DNA normal was included within the submission,” the company mentioned in its assertion. Franklin’s equipment was pulled in June to be examined together with 19 different kits.

The company mentioned in the course of the investigation into Fletcher’s kidnapping that it was knowledgeable by Memphis police of a doable hyperlink to Franklin’s assault.

Franklin informed NBC affiliate WMC-TV of Memphis that she didn’t wish to get into the “highlight” however felt sharing her story may “assist numerous ladies come ahead.”

The lawsuit is searching for unspecified damages.

A spokesperson for Fletcher’s household couldn’t instantly be reached.

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