Memphis Runner Eliza Fletcher Confirmed Dead 

A Memphis Junior Kindergarten teacher, Eliza “Liza” Fletcher, was last seen on a run around 4:20 AM near the University of Memphis campus on Friday, September 2. Fletcher was reported missing when she did not return home, and officers arrived at the scene around 7 AM. 

According to officials, Fletcher, 34, was jogging on her frequent route when a man approached her and aggressively forced her into a dark-colored S.U.V. Surveillance footage captured the teacher and mother of two struggling to break free as she was shoved into the vehicle. The car remained on the scene for approximately 4 minutes before driving away. Fletcher is said to have suffered a “serious injury” after blood, and other evidence were found in the car. 

In an emotional press conference on Saturday, Fletcher’s family offered $50,00 for her return and requested any help. Her uncle, Mike Keeney, stated, “We believe someone knows what happened and can help. More than anything, we want to see Liza return home safely.” 

After an extensive and desperate search following her abduction, Memphis police confirmed a body found in South Memphis to be Fletcher on Monday evening. Her body was found one day after charges were announced against Cleotha Abston in a kidnapping case. Abston was also charged with tampering with evidence connected to Fletcher’s disappearance. 

Since Fletcher’s body was found, Abston has been charged with first-degree murder. This morning, the Memphis Police Department stated via Twitter, “The deceased victim that was located yesterday in the 1600 block of Victor has been identified as 34-year-old Eliza Fletcher. Additional charges for 38-year-old Cleotha Abston have been added for First Degree Murder and First-Degree Murder in Perpetration of Kidnapping.” 

During the news conference this morning, Fletcher’s family released a statement. They wrote: 

“We are heartbroken and devastated by this senseless loss. Liza was such a joy to so many – her family, friends, colleagues, students, parents, members of her Second Presbyterian Church congregation, and everyone who knew her. 

Now it’s time to remember and celebrate how special she was and to support those who cared so much for her. We appreciate all the expressions of love and concern we have received.  We are grateful beyond measure to local, state and federal law enforcement for their tireless efforts to find Liza and to bring justice to the person responsible for this horrible crime. 

We hope that everyone, including media representatives, understands the need for the family to grieve in privacy without outside intrusion during this painful time.”

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