Woman who escaped abduction encourages women to run without fear

Local woman recounts escape from kidnapper
Local woman recounts escape from kidnapper
Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 10:38 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - After what happened to Eliza Fletcher in Memphis, a Williamson County woman who escaped abductio six years ago said what happened to Fletcher broke her heart. Still, it renewed her purpose of reminding women to live confidently and keep running without fear.

“I don’t know how to process something like this quite yet. But I do know that I don’t want to sit around and mop about it. I want to get up and fight for her,” said Sarah Taylor, who escaped being kidnaped six years ago.

Taylor said it happened when she had just moved to La Jolla, California, in 2016. She said it happened in July of that year. She decided to run in a residential area at noon during her lunch break.

“At that time, I was decently aware but still had my headphones in. It appeared that he was maybe getting groceries out. As I ran past him, I noticed that there was something in his hand, and I think that awareness that thing that kind of drew me to keep looking at him,” said Taylor.

She remembers that day in July 2016 like it was yesterday.

“Before I knew it, he had turned around, lodged something in my chest, and began to grab my head and really hold on to it,” said Taylor. “First thought, I thought it was a Joke. I was thinking, why are you touching me? The second thought was there was no way this was happening to me. To me, I am so normal, and finally, as he became more and more aggressive. I began to realize this was real. This is happening, and I have to fight,” she added.

And fight for her life is what she did as the man used a taser on her.

“He had a taser against my chest, and he started to grab my head and try and duck me into the back of his car. It was in that moment I remember seeing an Oprah episode where a woman had been abducted, and she said I knew if I got in his car I was going to die,” Taylor said. “I was looking at his seats, and he had me. I remember thinking; I heard her voice say if you get in that car, you’re going to die. So I fought with everything I had, and thankfully, my parents have put in me self-defense classes and always taught me to be strong and confident,” she continued to say with tears in her eyes.

Taylor continued to describe how she broke away from the man trying to abduct her.

“I was able to maneuver and was looking at him at one point and stared him dead in the eye,” Taylor said. “He continued to tase me, and I was able to do something where I maneuvered as I was fighting, and I had a little space between us. And I backtracked, and he tried to lunge forward and taser me again, but I was out of his grasp. And I took off dead in the middle of the street,” she added.

Taylor said it took years of therapy and her faith to heal from parts of that experience.

Now she uses her story to encourage women to run and run without fear and safely.

“I use this story now to really try and open the eyes of women to say you don’t need to live in fear. But here are some things you can do to live confidently,” Taylor said.

She tells women the first thing is always to be aware of their surroundings.

“Ditch the headphones. Even if you need one, if it’s low volume, that’s fine. But I just fully ditch the headphones. You can play music out loud.”

Other safety tips she gives are :

  • Don’t stay looking at your phone and be unaware of your surrounding
  • Take self-defense classes.
  • Don’t share your location on social media
  • Find apps that track your runs and notify loved ones when you stop moving.

“When you’re walking past somebody, don’t put your head down. Look them in the eyes and acknowledge them. Say hi. Then they know that you have seen them. You know what they look like, and they know you are not a victim,” Taylor said.

She also said women should run with pouches that allow them to carry items to keep them safe and defend themselves.

“I never go anywhere without some sort of a weapon. I have pepper spray; I have bear spray; I have fox spray; I have a horn. My mom got me a whistle,” she said.

Taylor, in tears, said she is devastated about what happened to Eliza Fletcher and feels connected to her.

“She’s in my heart, and I will fight for her, and I will run for her, and I will try to be the voice that was taken from her,” Taylor tearfully said.

Taylor said even though the man that tried to abduct her didn’t get jail time, she hopes Eliza Fletcher gets Justice.