MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The funeral services have been announced for Eliza Fletcher, a Memphis teacher and mother who was kidnapped and murdered while jogging near the University of Memphis.
Funeral services for Fletcher will be held 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 10 at Second Presbyterian Church at Poplar and Goodlett.
Memphis Police say Fletcher, a mother of two and teacher at St. Mary’s Episcopal School, was abducted while on a run on Central Avenue the morning of Friday, September 2. Fletcher’s body was found near a vacant house in South Memphis on Monday, September 5.
The suspect, identified as 38-year-old Cleotha Abston-Henderson, was arrested and charged with first degree murder and especially aggravated kidnapping.
Fletcher played with the University of Memphis women’s soccer team in 2006-07, and helped the team to win a championship her sophomore year. Her former coach, Brooks Monaghan, wrote an open letter to his former player, with whom he kept in touch.
“It might sound like a cliché, but she literally always had a smile on her face. Even when I would have to get on her, she still had a smile on her face. That’s just who she was,” Monaghan wrote. “As a soccer player, she was very athletic and had track-like speed. She was just a worker. She always looked at things as the glass being half-full, not half-empty. Her attitude was infectious.”
According to Canale Funeral Directors, Fletcher’s family is asking that memorials be made to the Liza Wellford Fletcher Memorial Fund at St. Mary’s Episcopal School, Christ Methodist Day School, and Second Presbyterian Church.
Fletcher’s family released a statement after her body was discovered.
“We are heartbroken and devastated by this senseless loss. Liza was such a joy to so many – her family, friends, colleagues, students, parents, members of her Second Presbyterian Church congregation, and everyone who knew her. Now it’s time to remember and celebrate how special she was and to support those who cared so much for her. We appreciate all the expressions of love and concern we have received. We are grateful beyond measure to local, state, and federal law enforcement for their tireless efforts to find Liza and to bring justice to the person responsible for this horrible crime.
We hope that everyone, including media representatives, understands the need for the family to grieve in privacy without outside intrusion during this painful time.”