An autopsy of Eliza Fletcher revealed that she was shot in the head, sustained leg wounds and jaw fractures. The death of the teacher and heir to the fortune of American billionaire Joseph Orgill III caused a shock to the local community. The case also contributed to the announcement of changes in the work of forensic laboratories.
34-year-old Tennessee teacher and heiress to billionaire Joseph Orgill III’s fortune on September 2 in Memphis was hauled into an SUV while jogging. A few days later, services found Fletcher’s body near the kidnapping site. Police said the charges of “first degree murder” were brought against 38-year-old Cleotta Henderson, also known as Cleotha Abston.
Cause of death
The Tennessee Regional Forensic Center in Memphis released the results of an autopsy on Thursday showing that Eliza Fletcher had a bullet wound to the head, was also bluntly wounded in her right leg and her jaw fractured. The report, quoted by the Associated Press, mentions the existence of “two semicircular cavities in the skull corresponding to a single shot to the head.” Investigators were unable to establish the distance at which the shot was fired.
Cleotha Henderson did not plead guilty to the murder of the teacher, and his lawyer declined requests for comment. The man was arrested the day after Fletcher’s abduction, after he the police identified his DNA on a pair of sandals found near the place where Fletcher was last seen. He was charged with kidnapping Fletcher, later hearing additional charges of first degree murder and first degree murder with kidnapping. Law enforcement said Henderson had been convicted of kidnapping in the past. In 2000, he was imprisoned for 24 years. He was released after serving 85 percent. judgment.
He wasn’t charged with rape because of “delays”
After he was charged in the Fletcher abduction and murder, it was revealed that Henderson was suspected of raping a woman in September 2021. Earlier, however, he had not been arrested on rape charges because, as the authorities said, there had been “delays in processing forensic laboratory data.”
The news sparked outrage among politicians and organizations working on behalf of victims of sexual violence, who began demanding an improvement in the information processing system for sexual assault cases. In response to the protests, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and lawmakers announced on Thursday that they would accelerate an increase in funding for the creation of 25 additional forensic lab jobs.
“Our beloved teacher”
The Fletcher murder shocked the local community. A week after her abduction, hundreds of people took to the streets of Memphis with candles to sing “This Little Light of Mine”, a song that Fletcher performed in a film dedicated to her students. Others took part in a run along the route the teacher ran on the day of the abduction. According to CBS News, similar events took place, among others in Dallas, Nashville, Chattanooga, Tupelo, Mississippi, and other American cities and towns.
“So many people brought light to us during the dark days of the past week. You strengthened us with your prayers, words of encouragement and kindness. Today we saw the light-loving community,” wrote the school where Fletcher worked on Facebook. “We are devastated by the loss of our beloved teacher,” they reported shortly after police identified her body.
Orgill, founded by billionaire Joseph Orgill III, who died in 2018, is the 143rd largest private company in the United States, generating revenues of $ 3.2 billion in 2021, according to Forbes magazine. Fletcher was Orgill’s granddaughter and heir to his fortune.
Associated Press, tvn24.pl
Main photo source: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation