Press Release

FAMM and PERL urge Tennessee Governor and Attorney General to appoint a special investigator in the Eliza Fletcher case

Contact:John Norton,

FAMM and PERL urge Tennessee Governor and Attorney General to appoint a special investigator in the Eliza Fletcher case

NASHVILLE – FAMM and People for the Enforcement of Rape Laws (PERL) sent a letter today to Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti requesting that they appoint a special investigator to look at the various justice system failures that enabled Cleotha Abston to kidnap and murder Eliza Fletcher.

“What happened to Eliza Fletcher was an unspeakable tragedy, but also a preventable one,” said FAMM Policy Associate Matthew Charles. “Before politicians use this event to advance counterproductive sentencing policies, we need an independent investigation into all aspects of this case and to make sure people are held accountable. The only way to prevent this type of tragedy from happening again is to understand exactly how and why it occurred this time.”

The letter points out that Mr. Abston received more than 1,000 days of early release credit, despite committing 53 disciplinary infractions while serving time for a previous conviction. The groups also note that investigative leads and a rape kit tied to an earlier crime allegedly committed by Mr. Abston were never followed up on.

“When law enforcement fails to investigate serious crimes, the result is devastating. I know this firsthand,” said Meghan Ybos, Executive Director of PERL. “At 16, I reported a stranger rape to authorities, but they never bothered to investigate my claims or send my rape kit for testing. Over the next nine years, the man who raped me went on to rape at least six more women and girls, including a 12-year-old girl two days after me.”

“Now, the Eliza Fletcher case has shown that the police failure to investigate rape cases can have deadly consequences. That is why we need an independent review of the investigative failures that led to Ms. Fletcher’s tragic death. Her legacy should be honored by improving police and TBI investigations and making prisons more conducive to rehabilitative purposes. We should not allow this heartfelt tragedy to be exploited by new punitive sentencing measures that will not make anyone safer.”


FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies that safely reduce incarceration, save taxpayer dollars, and keep families together. Founded in 1991, FAMM has secured bold sentencing and prison reform across the country while elevating the voices of directly impacted individuals and families. | | @FAMMFoundation

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