MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A woman was kidnapped while running early Friday morning near the University of Memphis (UofM).
His family is offering $50,000 to anyone who provides information that helps authorities find the person responsible for his kidnapping.
“We look forward to Eliza’s safe return and hope this award will help police capture those who committed this crime,” said a statement from the family, released by CrimeStoppers Executive Director Buddy Champman.
UdeM officials have sent out an alert that a woman who runs regularly on Central Avenue appears to have been kidnapped around 4:30 a.m. in the 3800 block of Central.
PHOTOS: Woman kidnapped and forced into SUV while running near University of Memphis
According to the Memphis Police Department, at approximately 7:45 a.m., officers were dispatched to assist UofM officers regarding a missing person in the Central and Zach Curlin area.
Officers learned that a woman, identified as Eliza Fletcher, 34, was jogging in the area around 4:20 a.m. when an unknown person approached her.
According to MPD, she was forced into an SUV and taken away. At around 11:30 p.m. Friday night, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) identified the pickup truck used to abduct Fletcher as a dark-colored GMC Terrain.
The suspect was in a dark colored SUV traveling westbound on Central. MPD then released a photo of the vehicle.
Fletcher is a teacher at St. Mary’s Episcopal School.
Albert Throckmorton, head of the school, said younger students were not told about the abduction, but the school was supporting older students as they heard the news.
The school issued a letter to parents and said counselors and chaplains are available to support students.
“You don’t want to hear what’s going on. We just want to find her,” said Hart Robinson, a family friend of Eliza Fletcher.
“She teaches and it has two young boys who obviously only care about a great lady, just the best mum.”
Robinson said Fletcher regularly runs near the University of Memphis.
“After finding the information and seeing a video where the person was abducted, it will sound alarm bells,” Mj said. Karen Rudolph, a Memphis Police Department public information officer said.
FOX13 was there as law enforcement searched Fletcher’s home. Authorities removed several items from the residence and towed a white van before leaving for the day.
Police say Fletcher’s phone and water bottle were found outside a house on Central Avenue, which is owned by the university.
Surveillance video in the area showed Fletcher running through the area wearing a pink sports top and blue shorts shortly before the incident.
Robinson said they just wanted her to be found safely.
“If you know anything or saw anything early this morning, we just ask that you come and help us,” he said.
“That’s just the way things are today. The way things are,” said Charles Hartman of Memphis.
Hartman reacts after learning Fletcher was abducted while running in his East Memphis neighborhood.
“It’s quite peaceful here near the university, it’s very rare,” he said.
FOX13 spoke with students who said they were on high alert after the incident.
“I think we have a security team that will escort you to your car if it’s dark, so people just have to be aware of that,” Mark Provence said.
Fletcher is 5-foot-6 and weighs 137 pounds, has brown hair and green eyes.
MPD said her personal items were found but she did not return home.
MPD gave an address for Fletcher in the 1500 block of Carr Avenue.
The FBI and TBI both responded to assist in the investigation.
If anyone has any information about Fletcher’s abduction or whereabouts, call 911 immediately.
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