MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A 34-year-old school teacher who went for a run Friday morning is missing and may have been abducted, Memphis police say.
Eliza Fletcher, who lives in the 1500 block of Carr in Midtown, went out for a run early Friday, according to a City Watch alert.
Police say she was seen at Central Avenue and Zach Curlin Street near the University of Memphis around 4:20 a.m., when an unknown person approached her.
Fletcher was reportedly forced into a SUV and taken away. The suspect is believed to be in a dark-colored SUV possibly heading west on Central. There is no known direction of travel after that point, leading TBI to issue the alert statewide.
Fletcher’s personal items have been found, but she has not returned home, police say. A family friend told WREG her phone was found in the area, which is when officials were alerted.
It is believed the abduction was captured on nearby surveillance cameras. Police were gathered near Central Avenue and Zach Curlin on Friday.
“We don’t know what’s going on, but everybody is desperately looking for her and the police here are on it. You can see there is a lot of activity, so if you know anything or saw anything early this morning, we just ask that you come forward,” said Hart Robinson, a friend of Fletcher.
Multiple agencies are now involved in the search for Fletcher, including the FBI and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
Sam Sparrenberger is a student of the university and has spent most of the day in disbelief after learning what happened to Fletcher.
“Me and my buddy were probably one of the first to see the police cars come out, but we had no idea,” Sparrenberger said. “I’ve never heard of anything like it happening. I spent time in colleges. I’ve been to University of Tennessee and the University of Mississippi; I’ve never heard of anything like this happening.”
Fletcher, who teaches at St. Mary’s Episcopal School, is a mother of two, Nexstar’s WREG has learned. Her family is offering a $50,000 reward for helping to find her.
“We look forward to Eliza’s safe return and hope that this award will help police capture those who committed this crime,” the family said in a statement Friday.
The Second Presbyterian Church of Memphis also identified Fletcher as a member. On Friday, they asked congregants to pray for her safe return.
Authorities say nearly 400 people go missing in Tennessee each year. That’s 5 people for every 100,000. Check this list of people missing from East Tennessee to see if you can help locate someone.
Anyone with information is asked to call 911 immediately.