Her family, heirs to a multi-billion dollar hardware chain fortune, later put out a desperate plea for information and offered a $50,000 reward for her safe return.
Ms Fletcher’s body was discovered on Monday night in a wooded area in south Memphis.
Cleotha Abston, 38, has been charged with her abduction and murder.
Here is a timeline of events in the case.
4am Friday (2 September)
Ms Fletcher headed out for her regular pre-dawn run around 4am on Friday, police say.
Surveillance footage picked up a black 2013 GMC Terrain “stalking” Ms Fletcher 24 minutes before she was taken, a police affidavit stated.
Ms Fletcher was a keen runner, having previously qualified for the Boston Marathon, and took her normal route along Central Avenue near the University of Memphis, according to an alert put out by the institution’s police force.
Police said surveillance footage showed a man aggressively approach and force her into an SUV at about 4.20am.
Separate footage captured from a local theatre shows Ms Fletcher and a suspect struggle, and the vehicle then remained stationary in a parking lot for four minutes before driving off.
Police would later say there were signs that Ms Fletcher had been severely injured in the attack.
A passing cyclist spots Ms Fletcher’s cellphone lying on the ground near to where she was abducted.
Unaware of what’s just taken place, he rides over to her family home to return it.
He also spots a pair of Champion sandals that police would later obtain DNA from that led them to prime suspect Cleotha Abston.
The Memphis Police Department (MPD) receive a call Ms Fletcher’s husband Richard Fletcher calls police to alert them that she has not come home from her run.
Around this time, the University of Memphis also phones police.
Police locate some of Ms Fletcher’s belongings from the scene.
Memphis police hold a press conference appealing for information about the missing jogger.
They say they are not aware of reports that the case may be linked to previous reports of women being harassed on the university campus.
Forensic testing from the sandals found at the scene is a match for Cleotha Abston, a violent felon who spent 20 years in prison for kidnapping, an affidavit would later reveal.
Investigators trace his cellphone records that place him at the scene around the time Ms Fletcher was abducted.
10.45am Saturday (3 September)
US Marshals locate a black SUV matching the description of the vehicle seen in surveillance footage in a parking lot close to Abston’s home in Waterstone Oak Way.
They see the suspect in the doorway of the home, and after a short pursuit he is taken into custody.
In an affidavit, police say two witnesses including the suspect’s brother Mario Abston saw him cleaning the GMC Terrain with floor cleaner and washing clothes in a sink.
Police said they found evidence in the vehicle that Ms Fletcher had suffered “serious injury” in the attack.
Mario Abston, who was separately charged with possessing materials to manufacture heroin and fentanyl, said his brother had been acting “strange”.
When questioned by police, Cleotha Abston refuses to cooperate.
Ms Fletcher’s family release a video statement to WREG appealing for help in finding her, and offer a $50,000 reward for her safe return.
We believe someone knows what happened and can help,” her uncle Mike Keeney says in a statement.
Sunday (4 September)
Memphis police announce Cleotha Abston has been charged with abduction and tampering with evidence.
UPDATE: The individual who was detained has been officially charged in connection with the abduction of Eliza Fletcher. At this point in the investigation, Cleotha Abston, 38, has been charged with Especially Aggravated Kidnapping and Tampering with Evidence.— Memphis Police Dept (@MEM_PoliceDept) September 4, 2022
They make a further appeal for information on Ms Fletcher’s whereabouts.
Officers from an FBI special taskforce, US Marshals, and police use helicopters, all-terrain vehicles and planes to conduct a wide sweep of the city.
Monday (5 September)
The charges related to alleged offending on the day before Ms Fletcher was abducted.
Law enforcement officers had been combing the area near where Ms Fletcher disappeared, including searching through dumpsters, ponds and parks.
Just after 5pm on Monday, officers found a body in a vacant duplex on the 1600 block of Victor St in South Memphis, around half a mile from Abston’s home.
Fox 13 reports that the body is Ms Fletcher’s, citing local law enforcement sources.
Tuesday (6 September)
At around 8.45am local time, police confirm via tweet that the human remains located on Monday night belonged to Ms Fletcher.
They say additional charges of first degree murder and first degree murder in perpetration of a kidnapping have been laid against Abston.
A few minutes later, he appears in the Shelby County Circuit Court for arraignment on the kidnapping charges.
A judge said he was not aware that Abston had been charged with additional counts of murder on Tuesday morning, and would not accept “hearsay” evidence.
Abston is ordered held on $510,000 bond and has been appointed a public defender.
At a press conference outside the Memphis police station at 10.30am local time, MPD chief Cerelyn Davis expresses her sympathies with Ms Fletcher’s family and friends who had been impacted by the “heinous and tragic” crime.
She said a “dangerous predator” had been taken off the streets, and acknowledged the efforts of the FBI, US Marshals, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in apprehending the suspect.
Chief Davis added that Abston was still not cooperating with police. She said it was too early to say if anyone else would be charged, or provide a cause of death.
Shelby County District Attorney Steven Mulroy said he had personally delivered the grim news to Ms Fletcher’s family on Tuesday morning that the body found on Monday night belonged to the missing heiress.
He said the family had been fully cooperative throughout the investigation, and addressed the “baseless” rumours that it was anything other than a random attack.
“In contrast to whatever baseless speculation you might have seen, we have no reason to think this was anything other than an isolated attack by a stranger,” Mr Mulroy said.
He said the family would be putting out a statement at some point, and asked that they be allowed to grieve privately.
That afternoon, police filed an amended affidavit which provided extra details on how officers located Ms Fletcher.
Investigators from Memphis Police Department, and federal and state partners searching for Ms Fletcher noticed vehicle tracks in tall grass leading to a vacant apartment at at 1666 Victor St at 5.07pm on Monday, the affidavit stated.
A search and rescue officer smelled an “odour of decay” and spotted a set of footprints in the rear driveway of the premises. He then saw an “unresponsive female” lying on the ground.
The person, who matched a description of Ms Fletcher, was pronounced dead by the medical examiner shortly afterwards, according to the court document.
Police found a pair of purple Lululemon running shorts that were consistent with a pair Ms Fletcher was wearing when she disappeared discarded in a trash bag nearby.
Surveillance footage showed Mr Abston’s black GMC Terrain nearby between 5.48am and 5.52am, the affidavit states.
Wednesday 7 September
Abston made a second appearance in the Shelby County Circuit Court on Wednesday morning where a judge revoked his bond.
The judge said that the suspect asked that he be known as Cleotha Henderson, rather than Cleotha Abston.
After the court appearance, Shelby County Jail records showed he was listed as Cleotha Henderson.
The judge ordered another bond hearing be held on Thursday.