• Alicia Franklin was allegedly sexually assaulted by Cleotha Abston last year
  • Franklin's case was presented in court only last week
  • She claimed Eliza Fletcher's murder could have been avoided had they expedited the rape probe

A 22-year-old woman in Tennessee said the suspect in the kidnapping and murder of Memphis teacher Eliza Fletcher raped her last year but her case was left ignored. The young woman has now filed a lawsuit against the city of Memphis, claiming that Fletcher would have been alive if they had properly investigated her case.

Alicia Franklin claimed the suspect in Fletcher's murder, Cleotha Abston, sexually assaulted her last September after she met him through an online dating app, NBC News reported.

Almost a year after the alleged assault, Franklin's case was presented in court last week when the DNA samples from the rape kit matched with Abston. The man was then charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated rape and illegal possession of a firearm in connection with the 2021 incident. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In the lawsuit, Franklin accused that if the officials had expedited the investigation, Abston would have been in jail by now, and Fletcher would not have been killed.

Abston was arrested in connection with Fletcher's disappearance after police determined that he kidnapped her during her early-morning jog on Sept.2. The cops discovered Fletcher's body just three miles from her home on Sept.5, the same day the DNA results of Franklin's case were out. However, they did not reveal the cause and manner of her death.

The man "should and could have been arrested and indicted for the aggravated rape of Alicia Franklin many months earlier, most likely in the year 2021 ... and the abduction and murder of Eliza Fletcher would not have occurred," the lawsuit said.

"They had more than enough evidence that night when they interviewed me to get him off the streets. But they didn't..I'm angry. Not a day goes by that I didn't think about this," Franklin told 6 ABC. She also alleged the cops did not collect physical evidence directly from the crime scene.

Franklin said Abston sexually assaulted her when she turned up for a dinner date with him. He pulled a gun on her and forced her into a vacant apartment. Abston did not leave her even after she told him that she was pregnant, Franklin said in the lawsuit.

Franklin reported the incident soon after the assault and sought medical attention. She also submitted DNA evidence during a forensic medical examination.

Representational image (police car)
Representational image (Source: Pixabay / diegoparra)