Supporters finish Eliza Fletcher’s run after murder of Memphis mother

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Thousands of people gathered before dawn Friday morning to finish Eliza Fletcher’s run one week after the Memphis mother’s kidnapping and murder.

Participants gathered at Central and Belvedere just before 4:20 a.m., the time Fletcher was abducted Sept. 2 while jogging near the University of Memphis.

A Facebook group, Let’s Finish Liza’s Run, provided details for participants leading up to the event, and the Memphis Police Department (MPD) assisted with road closures, traffic, and security.

PHOTOS: Hundreds gather to finish Eliza Fletcher’s run

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Danielle Heineman, one of the group’s creators, said, “I think it’s important for us to stand up, for the women in this community to stand up for ourselves,”

Heineman, a mother and avid runner, told FOX13 that Memphis has a very strong running community.

“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 said.

In a post published after the run, Heineman wrote, “Our city came together this morning at a time when we really needed it.”

One participant, Collier Roberts, said, “Thousands of people were out here this morning, jJust supporting each other and cheering each other on.”

Some ran, walked, biked and cheered each other on with a common goal - to honor Fletcher’s memory and stand firm in the face of tragedy.

Roberts said it was incredible to see everyone supporting not only Fletcher but each other as well.

“Anyone should be able to run any time of day and feel safe,” Roberts said.

Roberts described Fletcher as an incredible person.

Runners and their supports embraced each other during the event with tears in their eyes. Many laid flowers and candles at Fletcher’s growing memorial site.

The group even held up candles and phone flashlights while singing ‘This Little Light of Mine.’

“It’s helping all of us heal and we as women come together and do this,” Roberts said.

Police said Fletcher was running her usual route down Central early Friday morning when a man in an SUV got out and forced her into the vehicle.

Authorities searched for Fletcher for four days, until a body found in South Memphis was identified as Fletcher on Sept. 5.

Police said Fletcher’s body was discovered in the 1600 block of Victor Street.

Her alleged killer was identified as Cleotha Abston, 38.

He faces multiple charges, including first-degree murder and first-degree murder in perpetration of kidnapping.

He is set to appear in court again Sept. 19.

New details surrounding the death of Eliza Fletcher released