Why Social Media Is Apologizing To Eliza Fletcher's Husband

On September 2, Tennessee teacher Eliza Fletcher was out for an early morning jog when she was abducted within the vicinity of the University of Memphis, WREG reported. After a suspect driving a GMC Terrain wrestled her into the vehicle and fled the scene, law enforcement officials found themselves racing against time to find Fletcher. Sadly, her body was discovered four days later, per Fox 13.

After Fletcher's disappearance garnered the attention of true crime podcasters and social media users, it didn't take long for people to start drawing parallels between Fletcher and travel vlogger Gabby Petito, whose boyfriend Brian Laundrie confessed to killing her in a written statement before he committed suicide, per People.

Some Twitter users suggested that both Petito and Fletcher's missing persons cases have only received so much attention because of their appearances and backgrounds. According to the New York Post, Fletcher's family owns Orgill Inc., a hardware company worth billions. "How exactly do the 600,000+ people who go missing annually get equal coverage? What about the 300,000+ white women who are not wealthy or pretty (or caught on video) who don't get the same coverage as Eliza Fletcher & Gabby Petito? Or other races? Or the males? Any outrage?" one tweet read. Others immediately turned their attention to Fletcher's husband. "In the Eliza Fletcher case, I feel like the husband has something to do with it. I could be wrong, but it's the feeling I have," someone wrote. However, an update on the case had some armchair detectives apologizing for their theories.

Twitter criticized Eliza Fletcher's husband

According to Fox News, it was Eliza Fletcher's husband, Richard Fletcher III, who reported her missing. He appeared alongside other members of Eliza's family in a video (seen above) posted on the WREG Twitter account and wiped tears from his eyes as Eliza's uncle read a statement. Some Twitter users were convinced that his crying was not genuine. "Husband keeps rubbing chili powder in eyes," one person wrote. "Husband keeps touching his face alot," Linda Hogan, the ex-wife of professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, wrote on Twitter.

But on September 4, police arrested a suspect named Cleotha Abston on a kidnapping charge, according to Fox 13. Abston reportedly would not cooperate with police and reveal Eliza's whereabouts, but her body was soon found not far from where Abston was spotted cleaning a vehicle authorities identified as the GMC Terrain that Eliza's kidnapper had been driving.

The news of Abston's arrest had some Twitter users calling out those who jumped to conclusions about Eliza's husband. "Her husband deserves an apology from the internet sleuths that heard a rumor and ran with it," one person wrote. But even in their apologies and admissions of being mistaken in their assumptions, there were netizens who continued wildly speculating about Richard. "My apologies to the husband unless you hired this guy," read one tweet. "Oddly, her very wealthy granddad just passed away & she probably stands or was going to inherited a ton of $$," another skeptic tweeted. "Did anyone truly investigate the husband?"

Eliza Fletcher's suspected killer spent time in jail before

During a press conference, Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy addressed the rampant rumors about Eliza Fletcher's death. "In contrast to whatever baseless speculation you might've seen, we have no reason to think this was anything other than an isolated attack by a stranger," he stated, per Action News 5.

Eliza's suspected killer was previously arrested for kidnapping in 2000, according to the Associated Press (via ABC News). Cleotha Abston spent two decades behind bars after he pulled a gun on Memphis lawyer Kemper Durand and held him captive inside his vehicle's trunk while he drove to another location. Abston, who was 16 at the time, eventually tried to force Durand to make an ATM withdrawal at a gas station, but the kidnapper fled when Durand cried out to alert an armed guard within earshot about what was going on. With regards to Eliza's death, Abston faces first-degree murder charges in addition to kidnapping charges, per Fox 13.

According to Memphis magazine, Eliza and Richard Fletcher III first met at the Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis, which is also where they got married in March 2014. "There has been no other wedding like this in Memphis," the event planners said. The couple's pastor told Commercial Appeal that church was an important part of the Fletchers' lives and heartbreakingly added, "They have two little boys who have come up to me every week and give me a hug." Fletcher also leaves behind the many students whose lives she touched while teaching at St. Mary's Episcopal School.