A woman was kidnapped while jogging early Friday morning near the University of Memphis (UofM).
Her family is offering $50,000 to anyone with information that helps authorities find the person responsible for her abduction.
“We look forward to Eliza’s safe return and hope this award will help police catch those who committed this crime,” said a statement from the family, released by CrimeStoppers Executive Director Buddy Champman.
UofM officials sent out an alert that a woman who regularly jogs on Central Avenue appears to have been abducted around 4:30 a.m. in the 3800 block of Central.
PHOTOS: Woman kidnapped, forced into SUV while jogging near University of Memphis
According to the Memphis Police Department, around 7:45 a.m., officers were dispatched to assist UofM officers regarding a missing person in the area of Central and Zach Curlin.
Officers said a woman, identified as Eliza Fletcher, 34, was jogging in the area around 4:20 a.m. when a stranger approached her.
According to MPD, she was allegedly forced into an SUV and taken away.
The suspect was in a dark colored SUV headed west on Central. MPD later released a photo of the vehicle.
Fletcher is a teacher at St. John’s Episcopal School. Mary’s.
Albert Throckmorton, Head of School, said the younger students have not been told about the abduction, but the school is supporting older students as they learn the news.
The school released a letter to parents and said counselors and chaplains are available to support students.
“You don’t want to hear about it happening. We just want to find her,” said Hart Robinson, a friend of Eliza Fletcher’s family.
“She teaches and has two young boys who are obviously worried about a wonderful lady, just the best mom.”
Robinson said Fletcher runs regularly near the University of Memphis.
“After we actually found the information and saw a video where the person was abducted, this will raise an alarm,” said Mj. Karen Rudolph, public information officer for the Memphis Police Department said.
FOX13 was there as law enforcement searched Fletcher’s home. Authorities removed several items from the residence and towed away a white van before leaving for the day.
Police said Fletcher’s phone and water bottle were found in front of a home on Central Avenue, which is owned by the university.
Surveillance video in the area showed Fletcher running in the area wearing a pink track top and blue shorts shortly before the incident.
Robinson said they just want him to be found safely.
“If you know anything or saw anything early this morning, we’re just asking you to come forward and help us,” he said.
“That’s how things are today. The way things are going,” said Charles Hartman of Memphis.
Hartman reacts after learning that Fletcher was kidnapped while jogging in his East Memphis neighborhood.
“It’s very quiet here next to the university, that’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 evening, so people just need to be aware of that,” said Mark Provence.
Fletcher is 5’6″, 137 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes.
MPD said her personal items were found, but she did not return to her home.
MPD provided 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 information about the abduction or Fletcher’s whereabouts, please call 911 immediately.
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