Fletcher murder highlights Memphis crime wave

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(NewsNation) — Memphis has a crime problem, and heiress Eliza Fletcher’s abduction is drawing attention to the alarming trend.

This year alone, there have been no fewer than 100 kidnappings in Memphis. Fortunately, few have ended the same as Fletcher’s case.

However, the gruesome reality of finding the junior kindergarten teacher’s body Monday did not sit well with local residents.

Other kidnappings have taken place without garnering the national headlines that Fletcher’s has.  

Last week, a mother and her 1-year-old were taken by two men spotted on Target surveillance cameras.

They were forced to withdraw $800 from an ATM before being released.  One man was arrested Tuesday; the other is still at large.

And last week, a father stopping to help a man involved in an accident was carjacked, with his 2-, 5- and 6-year-olds still inside. The kids were let out a few blocks away, but that suspect is also still on the run.

Earlier this year, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland pledged to attack violent crime.

“Trying to get stiffer penalties for violent crimes so that people who shoot people, and break into houses, don’t walk away without any prison time.  It takes all these things … the state’s help, the county’s help, parents’ help,” Strickland said.

Strickland is also trying to hire hundreds of police officers, using incentives including a $1,500 signing bonus.

“We’ve just got to have a sense of urgency to address it, and drive those numbers down,” said Bill Gibbons, president of the Memphis Crime Commission.

Meanwhile, a debate rages on social media regarding access to crime-fighting tools.

Some point out that Black victims rarely receive the attention a white school teacher has. For example, three years ago, 41 year-old Memphis nurse Taquila Hayes went missing.

Her husband has been charged with second degree murder, but Hayes has never been found.

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