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Jogger kidnapped in near University of Memphis, FBI and TBI join search

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A woman last seen jogging early Friday morning on the University of Memphis campus is believed to have been kidnapped, police said, setting off a search for a dark-colored SUV seen leaving the scene.

University of Memphis Police said 34-year-old Eliza “Liza” Fletcher, a teacher at St. Mary’s Episcopal School, was last seen at around 4:30 a.m. while jogging near the intersection of Central Avenue and Zach H. Curlin Street.

Who is Eliza Fletcher? Police say someone kidnapped Eliza Fletcher near the UofM. Who is she?

The area where Fletcher was last reported seen is between the Herff College of Engineering and the university’s music school. Just before noon Friday, Maj. Karen Rudolph, MPD spokeswoman said the FBI and TBI have been called in to assist with the investigation.

Camera footage showing Liza Fletcher running early Friday morning. Fletcher was abducted and pushed into a dark SUV.

University police said someone in a dark SUV approached Fletcher and forced her into the vehicle after a brief struggle.

Fletcher, a mother of two, is 5′ 6″ tall, weighs 137 pounds, and has brown hair, police said. MPD released a photo of Fletcher jogging where she is wearing purple shorts and pink or purple sports bra. In the photo, her hair is pulled back in a ponytail.

Eliza Fletcher, 34, was reported missing Friday, Sept. 2, 2022. Police say she was kidnapped while jogging near the University of Memphis.

Officers were called at around 7:45 a.m. when Fletcher had not returned home by that point, Memphis Police said. University police said she ran often on Central Avenue. 

University Police said in a campus safety alert that Fletcher’s cellphone and water bottle were found in front of a university-owned house in the 3800 block of Central Avenue.

A picture of the dark SUV that police say was seen near where Eliza Fletcher was kidnapped Friday, Sept. 2.

Anyone with information may call the Memphis Police Department at (901) 545-2677. Police are also seeking camera footage from around the U of M area. The SUV was last seen driving west. 

Traffic is down to one lane in both directions in the area of Central Avenue and Zach H. Curlin street as police continue investigating, police said at noon Friday.

“Someday we’ll eliminate this kind of tragedy”

Fletcher attends Second Presbyterian Church in East Memphis. Her pastor, George Robertson, noted in an interview Friday that Fletcher’s kidnapping was not the first in Memphis this year.