Rape victim sues city for negligence over Eliza Fletcher’s alleged killer

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Almost a year after 22-year-old Alicia Franklin said she was raped by Cleotha Henderson, we’re now learning through a lawsuit her account of what happened that day.

The lawsuit says it all started on September 21, 2021, through a dating app, where she planned to meet the man she knew as “Cleo.” He then goes on to say that he held her at gunpoint and took her to an abandoned apartment in Hickory Hill.

That’s where she says she was raped and later that day, she says she went to the Memphis police for a rape kit.

“She provided them with a first name, she gave them her phone number, she gave them the dating app site, which the police department has special access to in order to identify participants,” said her attorney Gary Smith.

Smith said that wasn’t the only information Memphis police didn’t follow up on.

He said, according to his client, that violation happened in the same neighborhood where Henderson’s last address is listed, on Waterstone Oak Way.

“The typical investigation of a crime scene, whether it’s a rape or a murder or some other crime, one of the main investigative techniques is to investigate the neighborhood, they didn’t, and there he was, basically next door” , Smith said.

And, according to Franklin, she said she was brought in to look at a list of photos, which she says also failed.

“Obviously, very, very soon, the police knew who he was because they gave him a photo list with 10 photos that included an old photo of him that was roughly over 20 years old, which made it difficult to identify him and he said ‘we’ll give you a more recent photo to show you,’ which they never did,” Smith said.

The lawsuit said that although the violation kit was submitted to the TBI in a timely manner, it was not removed from storage until June 24 this year and the initial report was completed on June 29. august

He then says that a TBI scientist entered the data into CODIS on September 5th, just days after Eliza Fletcher was kidnapped.

Fletcher was kidnapped on Friday, September 2, and on the 3rd, Henderson was named as a suspect when his DNA was found on a sneaker at the scene of the kidnapping near the University of Memphis campus.

In this case, Fletcher’s DNA was changed in less than 24 hours, Smith said, and Franklin has been struggling to cope.

“Since this came to light, the death of Eliza Fletcher, she can’t eat, she can’t sleep, it’s just tormented her.”

He said based on the comments Henderson allegedly made to Franklin and the comments he relayed to investigators, they were clear indicators that Memphis police were potentially dealing with a serial rapist, but still, they didn’t go after him. bring.

“She tried to defend him by saying she was pregnant and he responded, and I’m going to clean up what he said, but he said ‘that’s what you all always say’, a clear implication that there were other rape victims that they tried to use that defense mechanism and he didn’t believe it,” Smith said.

The victim said she told police everything she knew about the man, giving them his social media pages, a description of his car and even his phone number.

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