Law enforcement officials looked for clues at the house of a jogger who was kidnapped near the University of Memphis on Friday.
Eliza Fletcher, a 34-year-old teacher at St. Mary’s Episcopal School, was abducted around 4:30 a.m. Friday morning in a parking lot while jogging near Carpenter Complex.
Officials from the Memphis Police Department (MPD) and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) said that Fletcher, who is married and has two young sons, was forced into a dark SUV with “no known direction of travel.”
Security cameras show footage of Fletcher jogging and footage of the SUV that authorities believe was driven by the kidnappers.
Outside Fletcher’s house at the intersection of Carr Avenue and South Willett Street, family and friends of the victim gathered for an impromptu vigil.
Surrounding them were officers from the MPD and agents from the TBI. Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives (ATF) were also on the scene.
Cars were passing by the Fletcher home as journalists and the public were kept across the street from the house.
At around 4:20 p.m., officers and special agents went into the house. Along with the officers, an ATF Canine Unit also went into the house.
The Fletcher case highlights the rise of kidnappings in Shelby County as a whole.
According to the TBI’s Crime Insight website, there were 735 kidnappings reported in Shelby County in 2021, with 684 being reported in Memphis alone.
Some students at the University of Memphis are shocked at this happening so close to the campus.
“After hearing about this morning’s kidnapping, I am very concerned about my safety,” said Emily Carter, a sophomore majoring in pre-nursing. “Memphis always seemed to me to be a very safe campus, especially at night and in the early hours of the morning. Discovering that the kidnapping occurred on campus by Carpenter Complex in the early morning really worried me, especially given how many campus police officers I typically see on campus.”
When asked about whether or not they were concerned about their safety after the kidnapping, Carter said, “I am definitely concerned about my safety after today’s incident. I worry about the security on campus, especially.”
Two blocks away from Fletcher’s house, the Second Presbyterian Church held a prayer vigil for Fletcher, who is also a member of the church.
Police officers are asking for those who have any information concerning the disappearance of Fletcher to call the MPD at (901) 525-COPS (2677).