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Inside the billionaire family of missing Memphis teacher Eliza Fletcher

by Staff
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Missing Memphis teacher Eliza Fletcher comes from a pedigreed Tennessee family that founded a $3.2 billion private hardware company and is well known within the city.

Fletcher, 34, vanished on Friday after being violently abducted during her morning jog. Cleotha Abston was charged Sunday with especially aggravated kidnapping and tampering with evidence, but his motive remains unclear and Fletcher has yet to be located.

Her grandfather, the late Joseph “Joe” Orgill III, ran Orgill Inc., a hardware-supply company that currently employs more than 5,500 people. 

Orgill, who died at 80 in March 2018, was a respected businessman and philanthropist in Memphis, according to his obituary in the Commercial Appeal newspaper.

The paper described Orgill Inc. as an “under-the-radar company,” saying, “most people in Memphis have no idea of the scope of Orgill Inc.”

KIdnapping victim Eliza ‘Liza’ Fletcher (right) and her husband in an undated social media photo.
Instagram/Liza Fletcher
Eliza Fletcher
Fletcher, now a mom to two young boys, married her husband, Richard James Fletcher III in a lavish 2014 ceremony that seemed to spare no expense.
Instagram/Liza Fletcher

The company says it is “world’s largest independently owned hardlines distributor providing retailers across North America and in more than 60 countries throughout the world access to over 75,000 products and industry-leading retail services.”

Under her grandfather’s leadership, Orgill Inc. went from a regional business to a worldwide leader in hardware supplies.

Forbes listed Orgill as the 143rd largest private company in the country in 2021, raking in $3.2 billion in revenue that year.

Fletcher herself seemed to be an avid runner who loved the outdoors. Memphis Magazine described her as a "'natural' girl — outdoorsy, athletic, and warm."
Fletcher herself seemed to be an avid runner who loved the outdoors. Memphis Magazine described her as a “‘natural’ girl — outdoorsy, athletic, and warm.”
Instagram/Eliza Fletcher

According to Historic Memphis, Orgill is the city’s oldest running business, founded in 1847.

Fletcher, now a mom to two young boys, married her husband, Richard James Fletcher III in a lavish 2014 ceremony that seemed to spare no expense.

Local event planners said “without hesitation” it was the year’s most memorable wedding, according to Memphis Magazine. 

“There has been no other wedding like this in Memphis,” wedding pros Russell Whitehead and Ruthie Bowlin told the magazine.

Her grandfather, the late Joseph "Joe" Orgill III
Her grandfather, the late Joseph “Joe” Orgill III, ran Orgill Inc., a hardware-supply company that currently employs more than 5,500 people.
Orgill Inc.

The service was held in a church where the couple met, and the party following it was in a custom tent with hand-painted wood floors.

Fletcher herself seemed to be an avid runner who loved the outdoors. Memphis Magazine described her as a “‘natural’ girl — outdoorsy, athletic, and warm.”

In a particularly chilling social media post from 2020, Fletcher asked her Facebook friends for recommendations for their favorite true crime podcast.

“Loved Tom Brown’s Body,” she commented about the show that investigated the 2016 disappearance of a popular high school senior.

“We like true crime,” she wrote in another comment.

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