Last week Carlethia “Carlee” Nichole Russell returned home after going missing for over 2 days after a 911 call reporting a lone toddler walking along the highway. The police are saying that investigators “have been unable to verify” the majority of Russell’s initial statement.
Police Chief Nick Derzis told reporters that the investigation is ongoing, but they do not believe that the community of Hoover faces any threat. They have not gotten any reports of missing children in the area or the surrounding areas. Derzis said that detectives were able to speak with Russell briefly once, but they would like to have another interview with her.
Investigators discovered that just prior to her disappearance, Russell took items from work, stopped for dinner at a restaurant and purchased snacks at a Target. Her phone records also revealed multiple odd web searches before she disappeared.
Last Thursday, as she was driving home from her job in Birmingham, Carlee Russell called 911 to alert police that she saw a child walking alone along the highway and was going to stop her car and check on them. She then called a family member before they lost contact with her.
The police spoke to Russell on Saturday night when she returned home. She told the detectives that after she left her vehicle on Thursday to check on the child, a man emerged from the trees mumbling that he, too, was checking on the child. Darzis said, “she claimed that the man then picked her up and she screamed.” The man then allegedly forced her over a fence and into another car.
She was allegedly then blindfolded and placed in an 18-wheeler, where she was transported into a house and made her undress. The police chief said that she thinks her captors took photos of her during that time, “but does not remember them having any physical or sexual contact.” Russell told the police she made her escape after she was placed back in the vehicle, managing to escape into the woods and run home. She returned home around 10:45 PM on Saturday night, after which she was taken to the hospital for treatment and then released.
Police have found some odd details about the case that they would like to shed some light on, including Russell’s search history prior to her disappearance which included the abduction movie, ‘Taken,’ and “do you have to pay for an amber alert?” The detectives working the case want to speak to Russell again, but her family is telling police that her mental state is too delicate due to the trauma.
The case is still developing, but for now the community and family can just be happy that Carlee Russell is home safely.