Memphis police recently identified the body of Eliza Fletcher, the missing 34-year-old avid jogger and kindergarten teacher whose abduction and killing in Tennessee drew national attention, as reported previously in The Dallas Express.
Fletcher was jogging near the University of Memphis at about 4:30 a.m. on September 2 when a man forced her into a black SUV. Police discovered the body of the missing mother of two on Monday. She had been murdered.
NBC 5 spoke with some North Texas joggers about the tragic incident.
“I think the whole local running community is very shaken by the tragic events of Eliza Fletcher and at the Dallas Running Club, safety is top of mind,” stated Kelly Heatly, communications director for the Dallas Running Club.
She added, “As runners, we all know the risks we take when we head out for a run. The Dallas Running Club does take safety very, very seriously.”
Bree Redwine, director of operations of Friends of the Katy Trail, told the news outlet, “I always tell my runners to try to run with a buddy, the safest way is to have a running buddy.”
She also advised that if you cannot run with a buddy, you should inform a trusted person of your jogging route, keep the volume on your earbuds low, and keep a can of pepper spray handy.
“Sometimes with running you get lost and love that feeling, but however you just really need to be cognizant of your surroundings,” Redwine told NBC 5.
Ashley, a runner on the Katy Trail, stated, “We should be able to run where ever we want and be safe, but unfortunately that’s not the case.”
In recent years, North Texas has had its own publicized cases involving the dangers of jogging.
A Plano woman was killed in 2020 as she took an early morning run at Chisholm Trail Park.
Four years before that, a schizophrenic former Texas A&M football player, who was later deemed mentally unfit to stand trial, hacked a jogger to death with a machete along White Rock Trail. The jogger’s wife later killed herself.
Most recently, local artist Antonio “Tony” Lechuga was randomly shot twice in the abdomen while he was jogging on the Santa Fe Trail. Police arrested two suspects shortly afterward, believing the incident to be related to gang activity.
Lechuga told NBC 5, “I really do feel like it was just random. The way it was the middle of the day, it could’ve been any runner, any biker, any cyclist.”
For more Dallas crime-related news, see how Councilmember Jaynie Schultz of District 11 was named The Dallas Express’ Crime Boss of the Month for February 2022.