MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — Hundreds of runners plan to meet early Friday morning to finish Eiza Fletcher’s run after the 34-year-old teacher and mother of two was abducted and killed.
Fletcher was on the University of Memphis campus during the halfway point of her 10-mile early morning run when she was forced into an SUV. Her body was found three days later behind an abandoned house in South Memphis.
Fellow runners and those impacted by her story plan to start at 4:20 a.m., the same time she was abducted, and run the entire route.
“Basically, I just started this to say, you know, we’re going to run at 4:20 in the morning because we have the right to run at 4:20 in the morning,” said Danielle Heineman. She and a fellow runner originally organized the event for women exclusively, but they’ve now invited men to come out and support them.
As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 1,200 people said on Facebook they would attend the event.
Heineman said they wanted to finish the run to address derogatory comments posted on social about the hour Fletcher was running and the clothes she was wearing.
“We are going to wear shorts and a sports bra and not be completely covered up because we have a right to run comfortably,” she said. “There shouldn’t be an expectation that you’re going to be abducted if you run at four in the morning in Memphis.”
Heineman said she never met Fletcher, but they ran in some of the same races. She said she felt like she had to do this as part of the coping process.
“I have a lot of friends who are training for long-distance runs and do run that early in the morning every day of the week, and so they run, get in the shower, and they go to work and take care of their families,” Heineman said.
U.S. Marshals arrested Cleotha Abston, 38, on Saturday after police detected his DNA on a pair of sandals found near to where Fletcher was last seen, according to an arrest affidavit.
Abston was released from prison in 2020 after serving 20 years for a previous kidnapping. On Tuesday morning, he made his first court appearance on charges of kidnapping, tampering with evidence, theft, identity theft, and fraudulent use of a credit card.
Memphis Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis said it was too early in the investigation to determine how and where Fletcher was killed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.