On Friday, Eliza Fletcher, a 34-year-old teacher in Memphis, Tennessee, went missing while on her daily early morning jog. Her family and friends, along with the entire country, held out hope that she would be found alive and well.
Tragically, however, police discovered a body near a vacant duplex on Monday, which they later identified as Eliza Fletcher. “To lose someone so young and so vital is a tragedy in and of itself,” District Attorney Steve Mulroy said in response to the horrific incident. “But to have it happen in this way, with a senseless act of violence, it’s unimaginable.”
After an intense investigation, authorities located and arrested 38-year-old Cleotha Abston on charges of kidnapping and murder.
Eliza Fletcher’s loved ones have expressed their appreciation for the outpouring of support they and Liza have received. However, they don’t want her to be remembered for her senseless murder.
Eliza Fletcher wasn’t just a victim. She was an avid runner, a passionate school teacher, and a devoted wife and mother of two young boys. To remind the public of this, her family released a video showing Fletcher joyfully interacting with her students during the pandemic.
Here’s missing Memphis jogger #ElizaFletcher singing to her students on video, per media reports in Memphis.— JB Biunno #HeyJB (@WFLAJB) September 6, 2022
All the more heartbreaking after a body was found tonight near a scene connected to the abduction suspect. pic.twitter.com/YR2gJEBdHu
Family Members, Colleagues Respond to the Tragic Loss of Eliza Fletcher
Eliza Fletcher taught kindergarten at St. Mary’s Episcopal School, the students and faculty of which are devastated by the unexpected loss. Administrators at St. Mary’s are providing grief counseling for their young students to help them deal with the shocking tragedy.
The school also took to social media to express their grief at the death of Eliza Fletcher. “We are heartbroken at the loss of our beloved teacher, colleague, and friend Liza Fletcher,” they wrote. “Our hearts are with the Fletcher, Orgill, and Wellford families.”
We are heartbroken at the loss of our beloved teacher, colleague, and friend Liza Fletcher. Our hearts are with the Fletcher, Orgill, and Wellford families. pic.twitter.com/41cePIFgos— St. Mary’s Episcopal School (@StMarysMemphis) September 6, 2022
The family of Eliza Fletcher gave a statement as well. In it, they expressed their unfathomable grief while thanking the community and local law enforcement for their support.
“We are heartbroken and devastated by this senseless loss,” they wrote. “Liza was such a joy to so many. … 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,” they continued. “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.”
Despite their immense gratitude toward the public, the family also asked for privacy to mourn Liza. “We hope that everyone, including media representatives, understands the need for the family to grieve in privacy without outside intrusion during this painful time,” they concluded.