Police Say Missing Alabama Woman's Abduction Claim Is Unverifiable
Police say missing Alabama woman's abduction claim is unverifiable during an update regarding the case. Carlethia "Carlee" Nichole Russell, from Alabama, disappeared for 49 hours last week after contacting 911 to report a toddler walking alone along the highway.
Hilda WorkmanJul 20, 202317836 Shares330289 Views
Police say missing Alabama woman's abduction claim is unverifiableduring an update regarding the case. Carlethia "Carlee" Nichole Russell, from Alabama, disappeared for 49 hours last week after contacting 911 to report a toddler walking alone along the highway. According to Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis, most of Russell's initial statement remains unverified as the investigation continues.
Chief Derzis assured the community that they do not believe there is any imminent danger, and no one has come forward to report a missing child matching the description Russell provided. Detectives have been able to speak with Russell briefly, but they intend to conduct a more in-depth interview with her.
Russell's mother, Talitha Robinson-Russell, expressed her belief that her daughter was abducted before returning home two days later on foot. She hopes that the detectives are actively pursuing the abductor.
Investigators have discovered that Russell took some items from her workplace, made a stop at a restaurant for food, and purchased snacks at Target before she went missing. The police have also found web searches on her cell phone leading up to her disappearance.
The incident occurred when Russell was driving home to Hoover from her job in Birmingham, approximately 10 miles away. She called 911 to report the child sighting and subsequently lost contact with a family member while keeping the line open.
The investigation is ongoing, and the police are working diligently to gather more information to uncover the truth behind Carlee Russell's disappearance. Here is what is known about the investigation:
As of now, police have not had the opportunity to speak with Russell since her initial contact just after she returned home on Saturday.
According to Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis, Russell recounted to investigators that on Thursday, she pulled over her vehicle to check on the child she had spotted on the side of the highway. At that moment, a man emerged from the nearby trees and muttered that he was also checking on the baby.
Chief Derzis stated, "She claimed that the man then picked her up and she screamed." As per Russell's account to the police, the man compelled her to cross a fence and forcibly placed her into a car.
The next thing she remembers is being in the trailer of an 18-wheeler. She stated that the male was with a female, however, she never saw the female, only hearing her voice. She also told detectives she could hear a baby crying.- Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis
According to Russell's statement to the detectives, her abductor was described as having orange hair with a bald spot. She recounted that during the incident, she managed to briefly escape from the 18-wheeler but was recaptured by the abductor and forced into a car.
"She claimed she was blindfolded but was not tied up because the captors said they did not want to leave impressions on her wrists. She said that they took her into a house and made her get undressed. She believes they took pictures of her but does not remember them having any physical or sexual contact," he added.
The day after the incident, Russell recounted to the police that she woke up to the woman offering her cheese crackers and playing with her hair. According to the chief's statement, Russell explained to the authorities that she managed to escape while being placed back inside the vehicle. Afterward, she ran through the woods until she emerged near her residence, as mentioned by Derzis.
Hoover police reportedthat Russell arrived home at approximately 10:45 p.m. on Saturday, having returned on foot. She was then taken to a hospital for treatment and was subsequently released. Detectives are expressing the desire to have another conversation with her.
"The family has stated to us that they didn’t think that in her mental state right now because of trauma of the incident, that she’s not ready to talk," the chief told reporters.
"She definitely fought for her life. There were moments when she physically had to fight for her life, and there were moments when she had to mentally fight for her life," Robinson-Russell said.
Police ‘unable to verify’ most of Carlee Russell's initial statement
After locating Carlee Russell's cell phone on Thursday, the police conducted a thorough examination of its contents and uncovered a series of concerning web searches. Among them were queries such as "Do you have to pay for an amber alert?" and "How to take money from a register without being caught."
Derzis revealed that the phone's search history also included queries for bus tickets from Birmingham to Nashville, with a departure date of July 13, as well as searches related to the movie "Taken."
Additionally, on the day of her disappearance, someone used Russell's work computer to search for information about Amber alerts, specifically focusing on the maximum age criteria, as per Derzis's statement.
I think (the searches) are very relevant to this case," the chief said, adding that he thought googling "Taken," a film about an abduction, was very strange.
Upon reaching Russell's car last Thursday, the police made several discoveries. Her wig and cell phone were found in the grass close to the vehicle, while her purse was left on the front seat. However, both Russell and the child were nowhere to be found. Inside the car, there were remnants of food from a restaurant.
However, during their investigation, the police did not come across the snacks that she had purchased at Target after leaving work. Furthermore, they were unable to locate certain items that she was alleged to have concealed at work before departing, which included a dark-colored bathrobe, a roll of toilet paper, and various other items belonging to the business, as stated by Derzis.
Adding to the perplexity of the situation, Derzis disclosed that despite extensive searches and the passage of numerous vehicles on the interstate, there is no evidence supporting the presence of a toddler walking on the road. Surprisingly, no additional reports about such an incident were received either.
The police have analyzed highway camera footage, which only captured someone exiting the driver's side of Russell's car. To unravel more details, they have forwarded this footage to the FBI for enhancement analysis.
Notably, Russell's 911 call remains the sole report of a child being on the interstate, and as of now, no one has come forward to report a missing child, according to Derzis. Information from an app on Russell's phone indicated that her car had traveled 600 yards down the interstate during her 911 call regarding the child on the roadside. This leads Derzis to express his difficulty in comprehending how a 3 or 4-year-old child, as described by Russell during the call, could have covered such a distance barefoot without crying or straying onto the road.
"There are many questions left to be answered, but only Carlee can provide those answers," the chief said at Wednesday’s news conference.
Around 8:20 p.m. on Thursday, Russell departed from her job at a business located in Birmingham. Surveillance cameras at the workplace captured her concealing some items before her departure, as stated by Derzis. Subsequently, she proceeded to pick up food and headed south on Interstate 459 towards Hoover, as reported by the police. After collecting her food order, Russell made a stop at a Target store where she purchased granola bars and Cheez-Its, according to the chief's statement.
At approximately 9:34 p.m., a 911 call was placed by Russell to Hoover's dispatch center, where she reported witnessing a toddler in a diaper walking alongside the interstate. Both during the call with the 911 operator and in a later conversation with a family member, Russell mentioned that she intended to stop and check on the child, according to the police.
In a recording of the call released on Wednesday, Russell informed the 911 operator that she had not yet left her car and was not with the child at that moment. She described the child as wearing a white T-shirt and what appeared to be a diaper. The operator instructed her to keep an eye on the child while officers were on their way.
During the call with her sister-in-law, who was also on the line, Russell's mother relayed that Russell could be heard asking someone if they were okay. However, there was no audible response, and soon after, the sister-in-law heard Russell scream, as reported by Robinson-Russell.
Alabama woman who disappeared after reporting child along interstate found
According to Derzis, on Saturday night, Russell appeared unexpectedly at her family's front door, leaving officers puzzled about how she had arrived there. "She walked up, knocked on the door, and there she was," he stated.
On Tuesday, the police obtained surveillance video from Russell's neighborhood, capturing her walking alone down the sidewalk before reaching her home.
In the fire department's radio communications, it was revealed that medics were dispatched to Russell's residence following a call reporting an "unresponsive but breathing" individual. The police clarified that this term was used by the dispatcher, relaying information from what the 911 caller had communicated to the emergency operator.
When first responders arrived on scene, they found Ms. Russell conscious and speaking and she was transported in that condition. She was later treated and released from a local hospital.- Hoover Police Department
Upon reuniting with her daughter, Russell's mother shared that they attempted to hug as best they could, but due to her daughter's distressed state, she had to keep a distance. Consequently, they stood back, allowing medical professionals to attend to her.