Memphis woman Alicia Franklin recently said her rape case wasn’t prioritized until the suspect– Cleotha Abston-Henderson– was later accused of murdering heiress Eliza Fletcher.
According to the Daily Memphian, Franklin has spoken out after her rape kit reportedly remained on investigators’ shelves for months until Abston-Henderson was accused of killing Fletcher, a white billionaire heiress.
“I was just an average Black girl in the city of Memphis, you know. I just think it wasn’t a priority,” she said.
Franklin reportedly left Memphis in 2021 after she was blindfolded and raped by an unnamed man she met on the PlentyofFish dating site. When she reported the rape incident to Memphis police in September of that year, she was examined at the Rape Crisis Center. She also tried to retrieve the man’s profile for detectives, but it had disappeared, so she gave them his phone number. They reportedly took Franklin back to the crime scene but left without collecting fingerprints from the location or her phone, which he was said to have touched.
Almost a year later, the suspect was charged with abducting and murdering Fletcher, whose grandfather founded a billion-dollar hardware company. Investigators reportedly wasted no time testing DNA from the white woman’s crime scene, which led them to solve her killing within 18 hours. However, it took more than 11 months for Memphis police to identify Abston-Henderson as Franklin’s alleged rapist– a discovery made after Fletcher’s death. He was even reported to have been in trouble with the law before.
“The only thing I can say is– just fight for yourself because the justice system is not going to help you,” Franklin said. “You know, that’s just my personal experience. You have to stand up for yourself. You have to fight for yourself because nobody else will who will fight for you.”
The Washington Post reported that the 22-year-old plans to sue the city of Memphis.