We All Know Eliza Fletcher

She could've been you. She could've been me.

photo of eliza fletcher Memphis Police Department

Eliza "Liza" Fletcher, 34, disappeared after she went jogging in Memphis early Friday morning. Authorities say Henderson got out of the vehicle and chased Fletcher until he forced her into the passenger seat around 4 a.m. Friday. After a dayslong, intensive search, Fletcher's body was found Monday, September 5th behind a vacant duplex.

This is Eliza Fletcher.

On Friday, she got up and started her day like most. She went out for a run. She was an accomplished, avid, Boston Marathon-level runner. She often ran in the morning before work. She’s a teacher. She’s a mother. She’s a wife. She’s every female runner out there.


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Runners often rise before the sun and start while it’s still dark. Some of us finish while it’s still dark. I don’t run in the city because it’s not safe; I drive 12 miles to a trail. It’s usually pretty populated with runners and cyclists. But I still carry a knife. And pepper spray. I keep my music low. I make eye contact with people.


I post about my location on Facebook. I leave a note of what I’m wearing. I have alerts set up in case I stop moving. I go over scenarios in my head. I know I would fight like hell. I take mental notes of places people can hide, where they could jump out, where they could drag me in. I make sure that I'm always running somewhere with light.

I go through situations in my head and I try to remember everything I've learned about self-defense. It's a sad reality but it's my reality. It's a reality for a lot of women out there.

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Running should bring peace. It’s my therapy. It clears my head. I do a lot of thinking on my runs. But the past two mornings, my anxiety and fear got the best of me. I didn’t go. I’m halfway through my marathon training cycle, so trust me I need to, but I just couldn’t get out the door.

I wanted a good outcome for her and her family, but sadly, that's not the case. I pray for her family, her little boys, and her husband. They have to grow up in a world without her. My heart breaks for them and anyone else that has lost their loved ones like this.

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I’m sad and I’m angry that this keeps happening. We all know Eliza Fletcher. She’s your sister, your mother, your wife, your daughter, your best friend.


Tomorrow, I will put my fear aside, and go for a run. I will start before the sun comes up. My miles tomorrow will be for Eliza. I don’t know what the answer is, but I hope it never happens again.

Sadly the dangers for female runners are real. I have no doubt she knew that, but she ran anyway.

And so will I — for her.


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Brandy Ciocon is an avid runner and contributor to YourTango.