1,400 runners to finish billionaire heiress Eliza Fletcher’s jogging route along which she was abducted

  • Eliza Fletcher, 34, was kidnapped in Memphis on Friday morning and forced into a black SUV while out for her morning run at 4.30 a.m.
  • Authorities discovered Fletcher’s body in long grass near an abandoned building on Monday after a series of searches over the Labor Day weekend.
  • Fletcher’s friends are planning an 8.2-mile run on Friday to commemorate the moment she was kidnapped and then complete her route.
  • They will begin at 4.20 a.m. and run in her memory, and 1,400 people have already expressed interest.
  • According to the organizers, the run is meant to “emphasize that women should be able to safely run at any time of day.”
  • Cleotha Abston-Henderson, 38, was charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping on Wednesday and could face the death penalty.

More than 1,400 people have registered to run through the streets of Memphis at 4 a.m. on Friday, one week after Eliza Fletcher was kidnapped and murdered while completing her regular route.

Fletcher, a 34-year-old kindergarten teacher, was kidnapped and forced into an SUV at 4:30 a.m. while running through Memphis. Her body was discovered in long grass near an abandoned house in the city on Monday.

Cleotha Abston, a 38-year-old career criminal who served 22 years in prison for kidnapping a lawyer, was charged with kidnapping and murder on Wednesday and appeared in court.

Fletcher’s family released a video tribute to her and her legacy on Wednesday, showing the beloved kindergarten teacher addressing her students.

She sings ‘This Little Light of Mine’ to her students and talks about her dog in the video, which was shot during the pandemic.

A group of Memphis women is organizing a run to commemorate the one-week anniversary of her disappearance.

‘We created this run as a way to honor Liza and cope with our own feelings,’ the organizers wrote on Facebook, adding that the 8.2-mile run follows a route she would regularly run.

‘Our goal is to stand up for the women in the Mid South and emphasize that women should be able to safely run any time of day.’

And, although the run is scheduled for Friday, on Thursday many runners were already running in her name.

‘Tonight we run for Eliza Fletcher,’ said the leader of one running club, Rhino Chasers.

The Colorado State University lacrosse team tweeted: ‘Enough is enough! Tired of the “why is she running alone?” “Why is she running so early.” Men do not have have to worry. We run for Eliza Fletcher.’ 

Danielle Heineman, a mother and keen runner, who is among the organizers, said that she was shaken by Fletcher’s killing, and angry at some of the responses.

‘I think it’s important for us to stand up, for the women in this community to stand up for ourselves,’ said Heineman.

‘We all just feel like we can’t run alone, and we should not feel that way.’

She said some of the reactions bothered her.

‘Why isn’t she running on a treadmill? Why isn’t she running after work? Women can’t do that,’ she said.

‘We have jobs, we have families to take care of, and we have other commitments. Yet we have a right to be runners also.’

Heineman said the event was originally just a few friends but has now snowballed.

‘My thought was that a few of us would go out, and we would just kind of stand up for that right and say, you know what, I am running at 4 in the morning, and nobody is going to stop us from doing that,’ she told Fox News.

‘We have a very strong running community here in Memphis, and this just shows it.’