Memphis Church Mourns Death of Church Member Who Was Kidnapped and Killed While Jogging.
The members of a Memphis, Tennessee, church are in grief over the death of a young woman who was abducted while out running and then killed.
Kindergarten teacher, wife, and mother Eliza Fletcher was abducted from her jog on the University of Memphis campus at 4:30 a.m. on Friday, September 2. Richard, her husband, reportedly contacted authorities when she failed to return after a jog.
On Monday, after a massive and exhaustive search, Fletcher’s corpse was located. Cleotha Abston Henderson, 38, was apprehended and has been charged with first-degree murder, premeditated murder, and kidnapping in the first degree. Commercial Appeal reports that Henderson will be out from jail in 2020 after serving almost two decades for abduction.
Fletcher’s Church, Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis, posted an online prayer request when her corpse was discovered.
Prayers are being offered for Liza Fletcher’s family and the Memphis community as the church tweeted on Tuesday, “We are grieving the loss of dear church member, Liza Fletcher. Please pray for her family and the Memphis community. We are seeking shelter in the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, whose Son is the blessed hope of the resurrection and will at the Great Day heal us and the world.”
A soloist sang the hymn “Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul” hours after Fletcher’s abduction, and the service was broadcast live on Facebook.
Senior Pastor George Robertson told reporters that the congregation was optimistic yet practical about the result of the search.
To paraphrase, “We’re not pollyannaish,” he remarked. And I believe that mercy is the primary focus of our prayers.
In the words of Robertson, “both highly engaged and wonderful leaders in our congregation,” Fletcher and Richard are.
Both are “inspirations in the sense of their zeal for life and love of running and athletics,” the priest went on to say. But what matters most right now is the confidence Ritchie has in Christ, on whom he and his family have relied their entire lives and who has made a great influence on each of their lives.
Fletcher, the granddaughter of a local millionaire businessman and philanthropist, earned degrees from both Baylor and Belmont colleges.
This Friday, almost 3,000 individuals will participate in a unique event called “Finish Eliza’s Do,” covering the same 8.2 miles that Fletcher would normally run. As stated in the Facebook event’s description, attendees will “stand up for the ladies in the Mid-South and underline that women should be free to run any time of day.”
Meanwhile, organizations of runners all throughout the United States are organizing events for this coming Friday morning to commemorate Fletcher’s legacy as a runner.